All indications are that the economy is starting to pick up and that’s great for eager job seekers. For some, this recession has been a long, drawn out affair and most are eager to get back to work.
If you are starting your job search and have been out of the job market for a while, relax. Lots of us have been laid off and everyone understands the challenges of the last couple of years. Take a look at the tips below to whip yourself back into top interview shape.
Tip #1: Treat Everyone With Respect
This goes for every single person you interact with — right down to the janitor. The way you treat people will directly reflect on how you connect with people. Connections are important when interviewing since you never know who the hiring manager is going to call on to review your performance.
Tip #2: Eat Beforehand
It’s best to eat beforehand, even if it’s a lunch interview. Being hungry will dull your mind and quickly fatigue your body. So, eat what you normally would even if nerves are creeping in.
Tip #3: Overdress a little
Your attire shows a lot about who you are. If it’s been a while since you interviewed, make sure you have clean, well fitting clothes that are a little nicer than what you would normally wear on the job. This shows that you care about your appearance and will give a great first impression.
Tip #4: Look People in the Eye
Too often, nerves get in the way and we don’t look people in the eye when we talk. It’s vital that you look a person in the eye. This eye contact shows confidence and is the best way to engage with an interviewer.
Tip #5: Don’t be Afraid to Say “I Don’t Know”
It’s awful tempting to embellish an answer or stretch the truth a little bit to impress people. Resist doing this. Saying that you don’t know something is perfectly acceptable as long as you follow up with how you would figure it out.
Tip #6: Make Sure to Answer the Question
Most people don’t answer the question they have been asked. If you tend to do this, repeat the question back to the interviewer and then make sure you answer their question fully.
Tip #7: Maintain Intellectual Honesty
Akin to saying I don’t know, you should not lie on your resume. An astute interviewer will find you out. Scrub your resume and make sure you qualify any experience that might be asked during the interview.
Tip #8: If your Nervous, Admit It
Everyone gets nervous and it’s fine to admit that. People will understand that this is a stressful situation and being out of work for a while makes it even worst. So, just admit it and you will feel and perform a lot better.
Tip #9: Always Have a Question to Ask
Too often, a candidate will have no questions for the interviewer. Don’t be one of those people. Having a couple of questions ready shows that you did some research and your interested in the company. Make sure to have more than one and preferably have one that deals with the current conditions at the company.
Tip #10: Be Ready to Explain Job Gaps
Gaps in a job history can be a red flag. If you have several, be sure to explain them in the most positive light without lying about the circumstances. If it’s been a while since you worked, make sure you explain how you have been keeping your skills fresh. If you volunteered, make sure you list that. Volunteering is a noble endeavorer and it shows that you are eager to contribute.
Tip #11: Be Honest About Why You Are Unemployed
Don’t be ashamed that you lost your job. It happens to everyone. What you need to do is be honest as to why you are unemployed and what you have been doing to find work. Economic times hurt us all and we all have friends or family members that have been caught up in lay offs.
Tip #12: Ask When You Should Follow-up
Before you leave the interview, ask when you should follow up. This technique is called permission follow up and it’s important that you plant the follow up seed so that it’s not as awkward down the line.
Tip #13: Send a Thank You Email or Note
Make sure to send an email or note to everyone you got a card from. I know this seems like a small thing but it can be the difference between getting the job and not. Candidates who send notes, even via email, are remembered.
Tip #14: Follow Up But Not Too Aggressive
When the time comes, make sure to follow up with the hiring manager or HR professional. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t call you back right away or ignore you. Sometimes priorities change and what was a must hire is now just a nice to have.
Once You Land the Job
There is no doubt that soon, you will land a job and report to work. When that happens, make sure to read this post on Your First 90 Days at a New Job. It’s chalked full of useful tips to ensure that you make a great first impression. Good luck.