Graduating from college is a very rewarding experience. Once the excitement filled with grad parties and summer trips ends you realize the next step is interviewing for jobs (or of course continuing on to a higher degree, but that’s another post for another day). For many this might be the first “real” interviews of their lives. With the complexity of today’s job market there are some basic things I remember from my job searches that I feel can be beneficial to others:
Resume-Always bring a few nicely printed and stapled resumes to the interview with you. To be completely honest, I don’t remember an interview that I went into in which case I didn’t hand out at least one copy to someone, plus you want your own copy in front of you as well. I also think the classic tradition of quality paper does go a long way with leaving a good first impression and a memorable one as well. Make sure you know your own resume and this should go without mention, but make sure its up-to-date. The worst thing to do is go over a resume and then have to mention the things wrong with it in front of the person interviewing you.
Attire-Overdress. I don’t mean wear a tuxedo or a gown, but dress more then just “nice”. This is another tradition that I think is getting lost in today’s changing work environment. By no means do I wear a suit to work, never have and probably never will, but I have a few great suits ready to go at a moments notice. I cant speak to a woman’s point of view on this but I would imagine the same logic about business attire applies. Dress well and dress impressive and of course dress appropriately. If you wore it to the club, you cant wear it to the interview.
Know the company/job-This should be about as obvious as it goes. You have to familiarize yourself with the company on a general level and the position you are going for. Realize that the interviewer wont be expecting much out of you, but as long as you can answer the question, “Are you familiar with what we do here” to the extent of whatever is on their company website, thats more then enough. You can imagine what the impression is if you are not able to convey anything about the company or anything about the position and its job description or expectations.
Question Prep-A basic Google search will reveal many common interview questions and if you get specific in your Google searches to the industry or position you can drill down even further as to some of the broad questions you can expect. Be prepared to answer a few “uncomfortable” questions. Not uncomfortable in the sense of inappropriate, but rather questions about what you are good at and bad at, what you can improve on, what challenges you have overcome, how you deal with stressful situations, etc. Go over some of these questions and prepare some talking points in your head to chime in with.
Always remember to say Hi, Thank You and Bye. Give a good handshake and smile!