Job interviews are a right of passage for young adults and a real pain in the you know what for everyone else. They are preceded by stress, nervousness and uncertainty. The problem is that your prospective employer is looking for certain things out of you and you have no idea what they are. For all you know, they’re looking for a supremely flexible person that can wing certain things and you present yourself as a regimented go getter that will follow company policy to the letter. You’re never going to know for sure but here are 5 tips to help you ace any job interview.
Study the prospective company
You want to make sure you know the company that you’re interviewing for as thoroughly as possible. When did they come into business? How did they grown into what they are now? Most importantly, where do they see themselves going? If you know these things, you’ll be better able to articulate how you fit into their plans.
Know the position you’re interviewing for
You’ll want to know the ins and outs of the position you’re up for. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a secretarial position, touch up on your typing and let them know that you are skilled at it. If you’re a traveling salesman, let your prospective employer know that you enjoy being on the road and meeting new people. This will apply to any field. Make sure you’re interviewer knows that you’re aware of the requirements of the job and you’re up to the task.
Keep a light touch
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from employers that the person they were considering hiring had all the right qualifications, had all the skills necessary to fill a position, but they just couldn’t picture working with this person. That’s right, its not something you’ll hear spoken about, but employers are human beings too and they want to work with someone they like. So although you want to convey that you’re knowledgeable and capable, make sure your interviewer knows that you’re not a stick in the mud. If you keep a sense of humor and allow yourself to smile and laugh a little, you’re a step ahead of most people.
Stress the unique benefits you bring to the job
We all have different life experiences that lead us to where we’re at. You need to figure a way to incorporate your life experiences into an asset for your prospective company and they convey that to your interviewer. Maybe you worked at a fast food restaurant and the law firm you’re interviewing for is involved in litigation against a local fast food chain. Anything you can bring to the table that makes you a unique asset to this company will help your chances.
For God’s sake, dress appropriately
There truly is no second chance to make a first impression. This doesn’t mean you have to don formal wear for your interview but it does mean that you have to dress according to the job you’re looking for. A suit will not work if you’re interviewing to be the foreman at a construction company. Likewise, constructions boots won’t work if you’re interviewing at a law firm. If you’re interviewing for a marketing position, learn the lay of the land. Do they dress casual? Maybe khakis and a Polo shirt are appropriate. Are they more buttoned down, you may want to wear a suit and tie/
What it really comes down to is doing your due diligence. You’ve heard it a million times in all areas of business and it applies here too. You need to put a little work in beforehand so you know what you’re walking into. Always remember what Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”