Confidence coach Catherine Storing gave job seekers valuable tips about preparing for, participating in and following up on job interviews--tips that can enhance your chances of landing the position you want.
Her first rule: Know your resume. You may get asked a question about something you've listed on it, and you should be prepared to answer it knowledgeably.
Make sure your resume includes current contact information, including a "gmail" account. According to Catherine, if you list a "yahoo" or "aol" account you're dating yourself. Your e-mail address should include your name for clear identification and to help prevent it from getting directed into a potential interviewer's Spam folder. It's also a good idea to set up a Skype account in case someone needs to talk with you face to face but can't be available for a personal interview.
If you've been invited to have a telephone interview, make sure you're wide awake and energized, and dress up as you would for a personal interview. You're more likely to make a good first impression.
Research the company and know where you're going before your interviews. Ask about company culture--you want to dress appropriately, but also be comfortable.
Remember that the interview process is for both the potential employer's and your own benefit; listen to what's said, but also to what's not said so you can make an informed decision about whether or not the job is a good fit for you.
Ask the Human Resources representative about salary range, hours of work and benefits; those aren't appropriate questions for the hiring manager or others who may be part of the interview process. Sit up straight, speak clearly and with confidence.
Your attire is a key part of the first impression you give, so be sure to dress appropriately for the company and position. One good way to determine what's appropriate is to drive by the company first thing in the morning or at lunch time so you can observe what employees are wearing. Always prepare your interview wardrobe the day before; choose carefully to ensure that your clothes are clean, pressed, and comfortable for you when you're standing and when you're sitting down. Your shoes must be clean and polished, and your hair should be neat and styled. Women should carry a basic, mid-sized purse and avoid flat shoes; a small heel or platform shoe will help your posture and gait. All candidates should have a folder of some sort in which to carry extra copies of resumes and other papers you may need.
Catherine listed some questions that you should always ask if possible:
What is your management style?
What is your most pressing problem or need?
What qualities would your ideal candidate possess?
Why is the position open and for how long has it been available?
What is a typical day like?
What do you like best about your job?
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Take notes on the answers; you can offer some relevant examples of ways you can help the company in your answers to questions asked of you.
Always send an e-mail thank you message the day after the interview. If you haven't heard back from the company after a week or so, you can send an inquiry into the status of the interview process, and send a second message a week later if you still haven't heard anything.
Catherine concluded her dynamic presentation by emphasizing the importance of having your references ready, and of letting your references know that they should expect a call from a specific person at a particular company. She stayed after the presentation to answer questions, and offered to address specific issues via e-mail.
Posted by Cynthia Carlson