Successful Job Interviewing When Times Are Tough
Dear Dr. LeCrone:
I will be graduating from high school in a few months and want to work for awhile before going to college. As you know, the job market is pretty tough right now, and I need help in reaching my goal. Could you please give me some suggestions on how to approach a job interview in the most successful way?
-A reader in Minnesota
I would like to suggest that you start by adopting the mantra “ask not what the job can a give me but instead what can I give to the job.” The job interview is often the first and only opportunity you have to make a good first impression.
Learn all you can in advance of your interview about the business or organization where you are preparing to interview. Get information on line or perhaps talk to a current or former employee of the potential employer.
When interviewing for a professional job, dress conservatively - suit for men and women plus tie for the gentlemen. Business casual is appropriate for nonprofessional positions, such as convenience stores or restaurants. Body art and piercings should be avoided, at least for the first interview.
Arrive in advance of the interview, as tardiness may spell doom in this situation.
Be sure your resume presents you in a favorable light and be prepared to answer any special situations listed in your resume.
Introduce yourself with a firm handshake, good eye contact, a clear voice and a pleasant smile. Wait to be seated until you are invited to do so.
Be prepared to ask good questions about the job opening if the opportunity presents itself. If job benefits, including salary, are not outlined by the interviewer, it is acceptable to address these issues.
Don’t be tense and uptight during the interview. Maintain close attention and have good eye contact throughout the interview. Speak plainly, clearly and confidently and avoid talking too rapidly.
Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question. When you answer questions, do so in a clear, concise, direct manner and avoid rambling, making speeches or giving too much detail.
At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer, smile, and shake hands again before departing.
I agree with you that the job market is very competitive at this time. Consequently, you need to be at you best as interviews are often harder to obtain when economic times are tough.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2009