Before making application for a jobs, analyze the job. In short, read the job ad or job statement on the company’s site. Read it several times before deciding it’s not only a good match for you but a job you’d like performing with a company whose mission and/or goals you respect and/or appreciate.
- Match your skills/expertise to the job. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle (vertically). Then write down the main job requirements on the left side of the page. Next list the skills, background and experience – you have which match – down the right column.
Hiring pros, recruiters and decision makers consider these your ‘assets’. Match up between 8-10 of your ‘assets’ with this particular job. Consider experience and skills used on past jobs as well as current. Consider skills and experience with groups you’ve volunteered with.
Review them close to interview time so you’re prepared with responses when asked about specific skills related to the job at hand.
2) Do ‘due diligence’. Before applying, discover who the company is:
- What is their mission – their goals?
- Are they environmentally concerned?
- What’s their company culture like?
- What industry do they specialize in?This information will come in handy at some point during an interview. Interviewers consider you a better candidate when you are relatively well informed about their company, can intelligently speak about it and respond to any company-oriented questions.
Here are 8 ways to research a company:
- Check their company website.
- View their ‘About Us’ page.
- Check out the Company or Showcase page on LinkedIn.
- Check out their social media pages.
- Google them and also check Google News.
- Check review sites, like Yelp, to discover what customers are saying about them. Too many negative reviews may change your mind about applying.
- Do a bit of research on how they compare or compete with others in the same industry.
- Check out the company’s culture; is it a match for you? Today it’s no longer important to simply be capable of doing the job, you must fit into a company’s culture in order to flourish and grow.
3) Practice interviewing. While it may seem a bit weird at first, practicing interviewing will help you arrive at an interview better prepared. Interviewers know, immediately – or within a question or two – if you’re a confident, capable person who’ll fit into their company and its culture. Practice goes a long way to helping you present yourself as a confident, capable, qualified professional.
- Write out the questions you know an interviewer will ask.
- Encourage a friend or significant other to ask them of you.
- Practice your responses. In practicing you’ll know right away which responses will or can work as answers.
- Do this again, the day before the interview and you’ll walk in confident and ready for the interview.
- If this is a phone interview, organize someone to call and ask you these questions. If possible, record it and play it back so you can not only review your responses but how you sounded.
4) Select a professional outfit to wear. This isn’t something to leave as the last detail. Select, clean and press an outfit and have it ready to go whenever an interview comes up. Dress accordingly with business attire. Have at least 2 outfits available. And 1 pair of good, polished shoes.
If a company is a casual one, for example, a restaurant or a manufacturing plant – you must still be well groomed and tidy, your clothing clean and pressed for an interview. In cases like these – for men no tie is OK with the top button open on your shirt.
5) Practice interview etiquette:
Interviewers say one of the most telling things, about an individual, is their etiquette. Be aware – poor etiquette could end up one of the items which stacks against you.
- Greet the receptionist pleasantly and/or with a smile. Tell them who you are and with whom you have an appointment.
- If allowable – Extend your hand when the interviewer’s assistant arrives, introduce yourself, smile and give them a firm handshake.
- If allowable – Extend your hand to the interviewer when you meet them and give them a firm handshake. If it’s a panel, (if allowable) shake the hand of each, smile and greet them.
- Be pleasant, enthusiastic and – above all – polite to all you meet.
- Unless necessary – eliminate geek-speak, colloquialisms and use of other unique words.
- Watch your body language – don’t slump or continuously cross and re-cross your legs. Don’t swing your leg or tap your foot; it shows nervousness and/or unease.
- Keep eye contact. Never let your eyes wander.
- Pay attention; look interested.
- Respond when you can; interject, if necessary, but don’t rudely interrupt the interviewer. And never, ever, ramble on.
>Get good directions so you’ll arrive at the interview on time. >Ask about parking. >Program your GPS, if you have one, with the address. >If you don’t plan to drive to this location, discover what mode of public transportation takes you there. >Drive or take public transport at least once before the interview in order to familiarize yourself with the area and parking. This practice run allows you to discover how long it takes to arrive there and how to plan for extra time to arrive.
Be there no less than 15 minutes early. This allows you to:
- Familiarize yourself with the building.
- Note where the restroom is located.
- Locate the trash receptacles for disposal of a coffee cup, for example.A practice run also allows you to discover the location where you’ll be interviewed. This may require traveling through a company’s campus. And therefore require additional time. **Very importantly, when you arrive 15-20 minutes early it gives you time to relax, catch your breath and emotionally ready yourself for the interview.
Jean L. Serio CEIC, CPC, CeMA, CSEOP