Interview Tips For Young Job-seekers

Image of Sharlene Cassius
Sharlene Cassius

IT’S about that time when many students have said goodbye to the protective walls of their schools and joined others who hope to trade, or have already traded their school uniforms for work attire. It’s exciting to receive that long-awaited call for an interview after filling out job application forms, or sending out umpteen cover letters and resumes. As the big day approaches, that initial excitement can easily become a nerve-racking experience, for the first time interviewees and those who are more familiar with the job hunting process. This article will provide some helpful tips for your job interview experience.

It is important to thoroughly research the company you hope to work for before your interview. Researching the company beforehand can cue an individual in on what to expect at a given company. For instance, a prospective employee’s research may reveal unusually high employee turnover, or ongoing or repeated salary disputes, which are red flags to consider before accepting a job offer. Likewise, finding out about a company’s upcoming plans to expand in a particular area may be just the kind of information that a person needs to market his/her skills in this specific area. Further, knowing about the company allows the interviewee to ask well thought out questions based on their knowledge, which in turn can cause such an interviewee to stand out among a pool of other applicants who may not have bothered do their homework first. Beat the next candidate. Start researching.

Dress professionally
We live in a very superficial world where appearances may get applicants into the door or keep them on the other side knocking. Appearances can sometimes make a statement to employers about the kind of personality or worker they may be dealing with. Having considered this, it is crucial to pay special attention to the way you dress since it may make a positive or negative impression, regardless of a person’s competency for the job in question. Consider the kind of impression that is made if a candidate for a customer service position, for instance, walks into the interview with a low neckline blouse and an extra tight, short skirt paired with very high heeled leopard skin pumps. It’s highly likely that such an employee would not get called back in. Likewise, wearing an extremely ruffled dress shirt may not make the best impression either.

A co-worker of mine, Yasmin James, once confessed that the colour and the simplicity of my outfit when I came in for my first interview helped to make a good impression about my suitability for the position I was interviewing for. I wore a grey pant suit on that day. She thought my outfit was “plain and simple” and not “loud or shouty,” which she communicated to the hiring manager. To her, my appearance communicated that I would be “professional and settled,” factors that would have been key to my position as Accounts Clerk. Long story short, I got the job. The lesson here is that although appearance may not be the only deciding factor when an employer considers a job candidate, it certainly is very important.

Be on time.
Perhaps one of the biggest pet peeves for many human resource professionals and managers is worker tardiness. Plan accordingly for any delays or interruptions that can cause tardiness. Not doing so can easily cause the employer to question your ability to consistently be on time for work. Don’t make a bad impression before even stepping into the hiring manager’s office. Be on time, preferably fifteen minutes before your appointment.

Be good to the secretary
So the secretary/receptionist has an attitude. Keep calm and get hired, because believe it or not, as impressive or unimpressive as your interview may be, the receptionist─ or any random employee you come into contact with before an interview─ can seriously influence your chance of being hired. They may very well be the person the hiring manager asks for feedback about you, sometimes even before an interview begins. You’d hope they had something complimentary to say, for instance, “I like him [or her]. He was really courteous and professional when he came in,” as opposed to, “That woman has an attitude problem. She was so rude to me because. . ..” As a rule, be very careful about your interaction with the workers that you meet before and even after the interview. You never know what kind of influence they have, or who they are. They may very well be the CEO visiting on his/her day off. You wouldn’t want to annoy the CEO, your prospective boss, would you?
In the next installment, be prepared for more helpful advice for acing your interview and letting your employer know that there’s no one better for the job than you are.

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