There’s nothing quite as unnerving as a job interview. Even if you’ve encountered several in your lifetime, there’s always the unknown, the possibility you’ll get a question for which you’re unprepared or just don’t know how to answer. As Sharon McCormick of Career Treasure notes, your best protection against the unknown is to go into an interview as prepared as possible. Try approaching it as a process involving information gathering, your personal appearance, and an emphasis on personal and professional strengths.
What you say online can backfire in this era of social media and online profiles. Your Facebook profile and other online interactions leave a trail that a potential employer can use to get a picture of the kind of person you are. An unfortunate comment made in jest may seem like no big deal, but an employer may see it as indicative of someone with an unfavorable view of the world, or someone who has very bad judgment. Take steps to optimize your online reputation if there’s anything that could reflect poorly on you, especially if you’ve been victimized by an online “hate” website or by some kind of scam. If so, assess how to recover your online reputation with professionals so you’re prepared to bring charges, get the offensive content deleted, and prove to an employer that you bear no blame.
Analyze and Research
Your next step should be to go back and review both the job description and the company for which you want to work. Once you have a sense of perspective on the employer and the position, you’ll have a better idea of how to respond to an interviewer, how to focus attention on those parts of your experience that will position you as the strongest possible candidate for the job. You’ll also need to research the company thoroughly. Learn everything you can, including about the company’s past, its industry, their competition, and any recent developments in terms of products and services. You need to get a good feel for the company’s culture as well as how it goes to market in order to determine whether you’re a good fit, so come armed with well-informed answers to common interview questions.
Do a Practice Run
Based on what you learn from your research, doing a dry run to practice your responses to difficult questions. As you practice, concentrate on body language and on appearing relaxed and confident. Prepare a list of especially difficult questions and go through them several times until you feel confident in your responses. Remember, the better prepared you are, the more confident you’ll appear.
It’s important to make a professional appearance at your interview. So unless you’re specifically instructed to “dress down” or wear a specific type of clothing to the interview, plan on wearing a conservative outfit with muted colors. Men should always wear a necktie and shoes that match the belt. Avoid strong cologne or perfume and any clothing items that could be interpreted as provocative or otherwise inappropriate. Keep in mind a professional appearance makes you look like a candidate who’s taking the opportunity seriously, so pay careful attention to your outfit. Sometimes, even a seemingly minor faux pas can make the difference between winning the job and being a close runner-up. A genuine and bright smile also comes into play when accentuating a professional and positive appearance. You have only one shot at the interview, so make that first impression count. As soon as you walk through the door, a smile announces you as a confident candidate and increases your chances for getting the job. In fact, research has shown that confident candidates do better in job interviews, so don’t be shy about showing off your pearly whites!
Preparing for a job interview is a process that should be taken seriously. Pay careful attention to your online presence and reputation, and practice interviewing by thoroughly preparing for the really challenging questions. It’s a great way to wow an interviewer and set yourself apart from other candidates.
Carla Lopez kept her entrepreneurial spirit even after retiring a couple of years ago. She created Boomerbig.org for retirees who still desire to work and achieve – a site that offers business resources for people in their golden years.