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Tips for Landing the Job You Want: Part 2

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Once your application has been submitted, employers will review your paperwork to determine whether they want to learn more your experience and qualifications during an interview.  When you get the call for an interview, you know you have made a good impression on paper. Now it is time to impress a potential employer with your appearance, personality, and communication skills. Here are a few tips that will help you "Outclass the Competition." and land the job.

On the day of the interview, give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Allow extra time to dress and drive to the appointment. You will want to arrive about ten minutes before your scheduled time. If you are not sure how long it will take to drive to the company, do a practice run a day or two before the interview.  This will help you not only time the drive, but it will also allow you to find where to park and where to enter the building. If it's a large office building, go inside to find the office. If you are running late for your appointment, call the office. You will need to explain your reason for being late and give an estimated time of arrival.

Make sure you leave your cell phone in the car or turn it off before you arrive at the office. Sherrie Dvorak, VP of Operations and Services at Frontline Source Group in Dallas said, "I’ve had people answer texts while in their interview and carry on conversations with callers.  Don’t do that!"  It is rude to use a cell phone during any meeting, especially an interview.

Once your are called into the interview, you will be judged from the moment you enter the room. Your body language, behavior, and appearance are all part of making a good first impression. Your appearance should be immaculate. Keep your accessories and fragrance to a minimum. Make sure you enter the room with confidence and introduce yourself to each person. Look at each person when he or she is speaking, and don't forget to smile. When you smile, you will appear more relaxed and friendly. Sherrie Dvorak tells us that candidates who impress her are those who are well spoken, take pride in their appearance, follow directions, and are polite and friendly. When talking to your interviewer, Sherrie says "Don’t talk 'at' me – talk 'with' me.  Don’t be over the top.  Take cues from the interviewer.  Don’t answer with just one word responses." Remember that your qualifications on your resume got you to this point, so the interview is about finding a candidate who will be a good match for the company. Your attitude, personality, and appearance are important, so put your best foot forward!

During the interview, you need to be prepared to answer general questions such as:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work for XYZ Company?
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Give an example of how you are working to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Sherrie Dvorak, adds, "You should always expect that if you have something written on your resume, you can be questioned on it.  Be prepared to discuss each and every bullet point if you must.  Additionally, you can plan that you may be asked about what you might be looking for specifically, your strengths and weaknesses, overcoming objections.  Also, review the job description.  Plan to show where and how you’ve performed similar duties in the past." The interviewers will want to feel confident that you have enough experience in your skill set to perform the duties required of the job.

At the end of the interview, you will more than likely be given an opportunity to ask questions. You should always have a couple of questions in mind. Avoid asking questions about salary, benefits, promotion opportunities, etc. These kinds of questions make you appear self-centered and  interested only in the money. Instead, ask questions such as, "Tell me about your mentor or training programs for employees." You may also want to ask the interviewer about his or her journey with the company, or ask about the company's philanthropic affiliations. This will not only give you a chance to get to know your interviewer, but it will also give you a "feel" for the company. It is also a good way have a conversation beyond the interview questions and to establish a connection with the person conducting the interview.

When you leave the interview, make sure you thank the interviewer for his/her time and ask about the notification process and timetable before you leave. If your interviewer tells you he or she will call you, then wait for the call. Don't initiate a call unless you are instructed to do so. Sherrie Dvorak says, "At the very least, candidates should send a thank you email.  A hand-written thank you note goes even further.  Points like “thank you for your time”, “I’m interested in the job”, “I’m confident that I can perform all of the duties attached to the position” can all reaffirm why you are or aren’t the right person for the position." Most people will follow up with an email, so a hand-written note will stand out. It is a good idea to purchase professional, high-quality stationery for this purpose. You should mail it the same day as the interview, if possible.

If you are asked to return for a second interview, go back to the company's website and to social media to continue your research. Second interviews may involve additional team members and may be conducted during a meal. Topics of discussion will be similar to those in the first interview, but will be discussed in more detail. This will also be the time to clarify questions from the first interview. You don't need to purchase another suit for a second interview, but you will want change it by adding a different shirt or blouse and tie or accessories.

The job application and interview process can be overwhelming and emotionally exhausting. However, if you take the time to customize and update your resume, adequately prepare for the interview, and choose clothing that makes you feel great, then you are on your way to successfully finding your dream job.

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