Eight tips for a better interview

Interviewing is possibly the first and only impression you will be making on a potential employer. The interview is the most important part of finding a new job/career. I have been hiring people for my companies entry level management position for the past 4 years. Finding future leaders for my company is a passion of mine. This is one of the best parts of my job. There are several things that hiring managers look for in an applicant. 

Here are a few tips to ensure that you interview well and find a career that suits you.

1. Resumes Matter

Resumes are the first thing an employer has to get to know you. There are lots of articles online that can give good tips on writing a resume. Do not use fancy fonts, no more than 2 pages, omit unnecessary information, and spell check your resume for errors.

2. Dress for the job

Depending on the type of job you are applying for will determine what you wear. My rule of thumb is to dress one level above what you would be wearing if you got the job. The people interviewing you want to get a feel for you and first impression clothing matters. Do not wear a hat or sunglasses. You would be surprised how many interviewees have walked into my conference room wearing a ball cap. Get a haircut and iron your clothes.

3. Be early

Be early for your interview. Do not show up late and expect to get a job. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Even though showing up early seems like a “no-brainer” people do get lost finding new locations. You do not want to be that person. This may require you to scout out the job location a day in advance. That way if you cannot find the place, you can call the day before to get directions.

4. Give specific examples

Throughout an interview, companies typically have a standard set of questions that they will ask. When answering these questions, you will want to give specific examples from your experience. These examples can be related to work, school, sports, and/or life. Find a specific example and walk the employer through the scenario. Then relate it back to how it directly relates to the question. Interviewing someone that gives answers that are not specific it is hard to get a good understanding of who they are as a potential future employee.

5. Be honest

Honesty is always the right approach. You need to be true to yourself and your future employer. It is best, to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. If you do not tell the truth, it is likely that eventually, your future employer will find out.

6. Initiative and Problem Solving Skills

The standard questions that I ask are to get me to understand the applicant. Specifically, I am looking for someone that can take initiative and problem solve. These are two traits that are critical for the position that I hire for. They are also extremely useful in most careers.

7. Know the company

One of the first questions I ask is for someone to describe themselves. Then I ask if they can explain the position they are applying for. When an applicant has no knowledge of the company or job they are applying for, that tells me that they do not really want the job.

8. Ask questions

The interview is not only for the employer. You need to ask questions to ensure the company is going to be the “right fit” for you. Personally, I expect someone to ask me a few questions. If I do not get any questions, then I will wonder if the person truly knows what they are getting into and if this job is the “right fit” for them.

The most important thing is to be yourself and remember an interview is a two-way street!

These are 8 interview tips that I encourage every reader to review. These are all things that I look for in future applicants. Remember an interview is typically only an hour. That is one hour that they have to decide whether or not to hire you. On the flip side, this is the one hour that you get with someone that works for the company. That you can ask questions to and ensure it is the “right fit” for you. 

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