Quiz again this week 17 questions 1 hour limit
Does the thought of interviewing for a job make you nervous? In many ways, an in-person interview is like giving a presentation to a small audience. To make a positive, strong impression, job candidates, like presenters, must perform research, prepare information, anticipate questions and objections, and practice their delivery.
Finding open positions that fit your skills is much easier now, with the advent of general and specialized job websites. You can select job attributes such as industry, function, title, and geography at job aggregator sites such as www.indeed.com and www.simplyhired.com then receive their daily e-mail alerts containing jobs that fit your specifications. Many companies list openings on their websites as well. Professional networking websites such as www.linkedin.com offer opportunities to discover whom you may know or with whom you may have a connection at companies that have an opening in which you are interested.
Despite the speed and convenience of Internet job hunting, standing out from the crowd of applicants is still difficult. Many companies receive hundreds of resumes per job opening. If you can get your resume and cover letter directly to the hiring manager or human resources recruiter through an employee or other connection, it will increase your chances of being called for an interview.
Very often, companies deploy a rigorous screening process for job candidates. Many schedule one or more phone interviews as first steps. Online interviews are becoming more common as well, as are requests to complete online personality tests, skills assessments, and extensive application forms. Some companies even require references and consent for background and credit checks prior to in-person interviews; in the past, those requests were usually made towards the end of the process when a formal job offer was made.
After you clear all these preliminary hurdles, you are likely to be invited to one or more in-person interviews.
Our text quotes famous management consultant Peter Drucker as follows: In the world of business, "as soon as you move one step up from the bottom, your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the spoken word" (O'Hair, p. 212). The text continues to explain that "Researchers consider communication and interpersonal skills as the single most important set of factors in the interview" (O'Hair, p. 212). In the end, people hire other people, not resumes or recommendations.
If ever there is a time to think before we speak, the interview is definitely that time. Your qualifications can get your foot in the door, but it is the personal interview that makes or breaks the outcome.
Ben Franklin perfectly summarized the job interview process when he stated, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." Everyone should approach interviews as they would important presentations: research, organize, and rehearse.
Research. Again, the Internet has made the process of researching a company much simpler. In addition to reviewing the company website, be sure to take a look at its competitors and read articles about industry trends. You may be able to find information about the interviewer online as well! Another way to find out more about the company is to talk to an employee. It isn't always possible, but current and former employees can provide valuable insider information that you may not be able to source anywhere else.
Organize. Take time to brainstorm possible questions that may come up in the interview, and decide how you will answer them. There are many career-oriented websites to help with these questions, and some databases provide examples of traditional and behavioral job interview questions that employers ask established jobseekers, college students, and recent graduates. Don't forget to have your own questions ready as well.
Rehearse. Ask a friend or family member to role play with you. Have them ask you tough questions and give you feedback for improvement.
The Quintessential Careers website contains several other helpful suggestions to prepare for an interview. It also provides information for the interview itself, as well as post interview suggestions.
Today's economy makes the job hunting process highly competitive. Individuals must go above and beyond in their efforts to prepare thoroughly for interviews and follow up appropriately afterwards. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated this idea very well when he said, "Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted."