On the hunt for a new gig? Whether you’re a recent college grad (congrats!) or a seasoned vet who is ready to change things up, we have advice on how to prepare for and nail your next interview. Check out the research, resume and etiquette tips below and best of luck in your search!
Before the Interview:
Google yourself – Have you done that lately? You may want to ensure that all inappropriate selfies, memes, tweets, photos of late nights at the bar, drug paraphernalia, etc. are removed or ridiculously private. If an employer can see this, they may make a snap judgment before even considering you for the role.
Executive tip – If you’d feel embarrassed showing a post to your boss, a cop, or your grandmother – delete it, or better yet, don’t share it.
Get connected – LinkedIn.com is a great way to connect with professionals, as well as recruiters. Update your profile with your latest resume, request recommendations and join groups of interest. Make sure to include keywords that describe your skill set, as many recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential candidates. Also, look for networking opportunities through clubs or affiliations in your area.
Executive tip – Add a link to your LinkedIn Profile at the top of your resume alongside your contact information.
Do your research and come prepared – Read up on the company and buy/download/understand whatever it is they do or sell. Your findings may come in handy and be either a conversation starter or enhance an answer to a question. Also, try to connect with a current employee (possibly via LinkedIn) to get a feel for the culture, atmosphere and day-to-day responsibilities.
Executive tip – Come to the interview with a recommendation of how you would improve their business/product/process, etc. For example, if the company is hiring you as a marketing manager, provide constructive feedback on the marketing they have today. It shows that you are familiar with what they are doing and are ready to take them to the next level.
Tailor your resume – Sending the same cookie-cutter resume to multiple places is not going to get you noticed, especially if you are submitting it to a system that uses a keyword search to determine if the resume best matches the job description. Be sure that your resume specifically reflects the skill set and position you are trying to obtain.
Executive tip – Read through the postings and relate your past experiences to each task by using similar keywords. For example, if the job posting you’re qualified for reads, “Relevant or related experience in website programming,” be sure to use the words “Website Programming” when explaining your skill set, instead of “Development.”
During the Interview:
Dress the part – During the research process, you should have gotten a feel for how conservative or informal a company may be. It’s always recommended to wear professional attire, such as a suit or blazer. Even if you know that employees of that organization dress casually, dress formally for the interview (unless you are specifically told otherwise by the employer). The interview is a professional meeting and first impressions are important.
Executive tip – Minimal makeup, jewelry, covering tattoos, etc. always helps limit distractions and judgment.
Be honest, personable and confident – You may have the best resume in the world and a 4.0 GPA, but if you can’t look the interviewer in the eye, or connect with them on a personal level, you are losing half the battle. Most interviewers are thinking, “Will this person vibe with my team? Do they fit with our culture? Can I spend 8 hours a day with them?” Be sure to maintain eye contact, smile and answer questions as candidly as possible.
Executive tip – Be friendly to the person sitting at the front desk. Sometimes the interviewer will ask them what their thoughts/first impressions are.
Ask the right questions – Aside from salary and benefit questions, be sure to ask the interviewer to walk you through a “day in the life” at their company. You want to be sure that you fully understand the roles and responsibilities associated with the position you’re applying for.
Executive tip – Prepare questions ahead of time. Also, the nuances of a position such as long work hours, personality conflicts, hidden issues etc. will likely not be disclosed up front, so don’t be afraid to ask if you feel you aren’t getting enough information.
After the Interview:
Follow up – Be sure to thank the interviewers (all of them if there are multiple). Either ask the HR rep for specific contact information or at the end of the interviews, ask for each person’s business card. Also, if you don’t hear anything, don’t be afraid to follow up and ask what the status is on the position.
Executive tip – In this day in age, an email thank you is usually sufficient, but it’s always nice to go the extra mile and send something hand-written.
If it doesn’t work out, let it go –Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the first job you interview for. Competition within the job market is high and you’re not going to get an offer every time. Don’t panic. Refocus your efforts and learn from your experience.
Executive tip – If you don’t hear a response at all from the organization, try reapplying a few months later. Sometimes timing plays a role in the hiring process.
To see if there are any jobs available in your field of interest, check out our job board at advertisingclubofbuffalo.com//jobs now.
Best of luck!