It can seem like a daunting process when beginning a job search. One of the most stressful parts of searching for a job can be the interview process. According to data from the US Department of Labor, growth has increased by almost 600,000 jobs monthly. With the amount of competition in securing a new position, it is best to be prepared to have the best outcome.
We will discuss some tips and tricks to use during a job search and throughout the interview process to set yourself up for success.
How to research the company you’re interviewing with
Once an interview is landed, researching a company and compiling a list of questions is a recommended next step. This can help to better understand their culture and work environment, as well as what the position entails.
To effectively learn about the company it can help to:
- Research the company name
- Parent company
- Company’s location(s)
- What they do and who they serve
- Their competitors
- Their mission statement
- The position you’re applying for
- What the position entails
- Possibly connect with past or present employees of the company
Interviewing skills checklist
Creating an interview skills checklist can also be a helpful addition to gain confidence and composure during the interview process. Generally, there are standard interview questions that are expected to be asked and preparation can help greatly in answering these questions. Before an interview it is important to:
- Gather information about the company and the job you are seeking
- Be ready to discuss your interests and qualifications
- Check your appearance: take a shower, have a neat haircut, and dress appropriately
- Practice introducing yourself with a handshake and a smile
- Review commonly asked interview questions
- Make eye contact with the interviewer. Recruiters have listed lack of confidence as a reason to not go further in the interview process with a particular candidate
Come prepared with some of the most common interview questions that employers are most likely to ask potential employees such as:
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
- Do you have any training or skills that would help you in this job?
- What do you feel is your best asset?
- Do you prefer working with others or by yourself?
- What are your interests and hobbies?
- Where do you plan to be five years from now?
- What can you contribute to our company?
- What jobs have you had that you enjoyed the most? The least? Why?
- Do you take instructions well?
- How well do you handle criticism?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
Usually, the interviewer will ask the candidate whether they have questions towards the end of the interview. Having a few questions for the interviewer can help show interest in the company and position such as:
- How many workers are employed here?
- What are the possibilities for advancement?
- Do you offer any educational opportunities to your employees?
- Describe a typical day on the job.
- Who will I be supervised by?
Job Fair Dos and Don'ts
Part of the job search process can include going to job fairs. Job fairs can be a great opportunity to learn about a variety of companies in one location. To be as efficient as possible during time at a job fair, it is important to have a specific strategy such as:
- Do pre-register for the event and do attempt to get the list of attending companies before the career fair.
- Do attempt to research basic information about each company you hope to interview with at the job fair.
- Do prepare a one-minute elevator pitch that focuses on the unique benefits you can offer the employer.
- Do be prepared to talk about your work experiences, skills, and abilities.
- Do have a few questions prepared for each recruiter, but don’t ask questions that any good job-seeker should already know, such as what does your company do?
- Do remember all the keys to successful interviewing, including a firm handshake, a warm smile, eye contact, and a strong voice.
- Do bring enough copies of your resume to the career fair. And do bring different versions of your resume if you are searching for different types of jobs. If you bring different versions, be sure to keep them organized to prevent giving the wrong resume to an employer.
- Do take advantage of the time you have to build rapport with each recruiter, but don’t monopolize their time.
- Do dress professionally — conservative is always the safe choice.
- Do be sure to ask about the hiring process of each company, but don’t ask too many questions about salaries, vacation time, and other benefits.
- Do be sure to follow-up with each recruiter. Some experts say to call and leave a message on their voicemail right after the job fair, but at a minimum you should send each recruiter a thank you letter.
- Do come with note-taking gear. Bring a smartphone, or day planner and pen. If a recruiter offers you an interview, immediately update your calendar so you don’t forget it.
- Do stop and reflect midway through the fair. Have you accomplished any of your goals? If not, what do you need to do/change before the fair ends? Otherwise, what’s left to be done?
- Don’t eliminate companies because they are recruiting for positions outside your field; take the time to network with the recruiter and get the name of a hiring manager for your particular career field.
- Don’t just drop your resumer on the recruiter’s table and walk off.
- Don’t forget to eliminate such bad habits as playing with your hair, chewing gum, fidgeting, rocking from side-to-side, acting distracted, rubbing your nose, etc.
- Don’t ever just walk up to a booth and interrupt a current conversation; wait your turn and be polite.
- Don’t waste the opportunity to network, not only with the recruiters, but with fellow job-seekers and other professionals in attendance at the career fair.
- Don’t ever say anything negative to the recruiter about your college or previous jobs, companies, or supervisors.
Dos and Don'ts of Interviewing
Interviewing can be stressful, but it’s important to put your best foot forward during this first impression stage of the hiring process. With video interviewing on the rise beginning in 2020 (almost half of 506 companies surveyed are conducting video interviews) there are still some interviewing standards whether you’re in person or on video to abide by such as:
- Do some research on the business that you are applying to, know what it is they make, do or sell
- Whenever possible, speak to some people who have worked there before
- Rehearse and prepare for questions that may be asked of you. Ask a friend, teacher or parent to ask you questions
- Dress conservatively and give yourself plenty of time to get ready beforehand
- Always arrive five minutes early
- Have a positive attitude and smile
- Act enthusiastic about the job
- Never say anything negative about past jobs or school
- Be sure to thank the person interviewing you for the opportunity
- Make yourself at home in someone’s office until you have been invited
- Chew gum
- Give one word answers like yes or no
- Appear desperate
- Talk badly about anyone
- Bring anyone with you unless it’s necessary
Preparing for a job search can be intimidating, however, being prepared is your best asset for increasing your chances at landing the job you want. Whether it’s a job change or getting back into the workforce, Occupational Resource Network can assist with helping individuals prepare for work with vocational rehabilitation services from certified professionals. Contact our offices today to speak with one of our counselors.