Have you ever finished an exam and known immediately you got an A? It’s one of the best feelings. While I can’t promise you an A on your next interview, I can promise you will go in feeling more prepared than ever before! I’ve been at Godshall for over 6 years now and work with some of the most trusted experts in the field of hiring. We have come up with some of our best tips to prepare for your next interview. After reading these tips, you’ll be an expert too!
- Researching, i.e., Stalking.Let’s be honest, we’ve all surprised ourselves at how good we are at stalking. Thanks to social media, you now can uncover a person’s entire life story without even knowing their last name. So why not put those stalking skills to good use? Your goal is to go in feeling like you already work there! Make sure to research the following:
- The company:
- How long have they been around?
- What is their mission?
- How many employees do they have?
- Who are their competitors?
- What do they do?
- Have they been in the news recently?
- The interviewers:
- What is their job title?
- Check them out on LinkedIn and other social media outlets to see what they’re like, how long they’ve been in that role, and any other interesting info.
- Google them to see if they are in the news.
- Study the Job Description. Sometimes companies do not provide the most detailed job description. When they do, make sure you truly understand the job and what you will be doing. Nothing says a lack of detail and understanding quite like telling an interviewer you’re not much of a desk person when you’re interviewing for an accounting position. #notwinning Also, compare your previous experience with this new role so when they ask why they should hire you, you’ve got the hard facts.
- Practice makes perfect. If you have not interviewed in a while, it would be in your best interest to practice answering some of the traditional interview questions (Tell me about yourself, strengths vs. weaknesses, why you are looking, etc.) You want to present yourself as a calm and poised professional. Practicing will help relieve some of those pre-interview jitters and will help you come across more confident as well.
- Dress the part. The company and market will determine what you should wear. For about 90% of interviews, traditional business attire is acceptable. When you’re interviewing for marketing agencies or young startup companies, you might be able to branch out a little and show your creativity. Once you have your outfit picked out, put it on a few days before. Have someone else critique it to make sure it all looks good. Make sure everything is spotless and perfectly ironed. Also, it’s a good idea to plan a back-up outfit in case your coffee decides to go crazy. Your goal is to leave your home feeling confident and on point from head to toe.
- Know where you’re going ahead of time. Thanks to Google Maps, you can now see an overhead and street view of the company. Once you have an idea of what the building looks like, find directions from your home to the company. You might even want to print or screenshot those directions just in case. Finally, drive that exact route to make sure there aren’t any road closings, heavy traffic areas, or anything else that might delay your commute the day before (Waze is a great app to show current wrecks, heavy traffic areas, road closings, etc.). Showing up late for an interview is not professional.
- Remember, they’re not JUST a receptionist. That receptionist may very well be your ticket into or out of the company. Treat everyone with the same respect whether they are the administrative assistant or the CEO. How you treat people when no one else is looking says a lot about your character and how you will truly act if you get the job.
- Bring several copies of your resume and references. Having extra copies helps you looked prepared and organized. In some cases, the hiring manager might’ve lost yours and needs a new one. In other cases, other employees might be pulled into the interview and would like to see a copy as well.
Now go ace that interview!
Written by: Shawn Kinard
We have all heard the phrase, “past performance predicts future performance” and I feel the easiest way to gauge future performance is from relying heavily on reference feedback. Whether you are a recruiter, HR professional, hiring manager or simply conducting interviews for your organization, checking references on potential employees is a must. Below are some tips, pulled greatly from past experience, on how to get the most out of checking references:
- If a candidate cannot provide a readily available list of references, this may be a red flag. Most understandably, candidates that are currently working are not going to list their current employer and shouldn’t be expected to. However, if someone is actively job seeking and interviewing, they should have a prepared list of contacts to provide you to ensure someone can vouch for their work ethic throughout the pre-hire process.
- A thorough reference list will include a great amount of diversity in the contacts listed. For example, being able to provide more than one contact from past jobs, contacts from all past jobs, and different levels of employees they worked with in those jobs, including both former co-workers and supervisors, is hugely helpful. It is also important that the candidate has made these contacts aware they are listed as a reference on their behalf. Nothing is worse than catching someone completely unaware of the reason for your call!
- Keep it professional–nothing personal and stick with facts.
- Remember to start by verifying the information provided by the candidate and then move into questions related to their specific performance in the role and with the company (some examples below). Additionally, when interviewing a candidate for a specific role, be sure to dig a little deeper into how their past performance will relate to what they may eventually do within your organization.
o Are the company names, dates of employment, and titles correct?
o How was their overall performance in the specific role? (Does title listed and job duties provided mirror feedback coming from the reference?)
o How did they treat both fellow employees and external customers?
o Were they prompt and reliable with work product and in regards to meeting deadlines?
o Did they adhere to office culture and standards: attendance, dress code, etc.?
o Are there any concerns? (Concerns are not always negative and may be helpful in determining how to train and ensure immediate success in the new role.)
o Are they eligible for rehire? (Or sometimes can be phrased as, “would you hire or work with them again?” depending on the relationship of the candidate to the contact).
- If you do uncover negative feedback in a reference, it may not be a “deal breaker,” but not worth ignoring. In this case, ask the candidate for more reference contacts as it is worth researching further to see if the feedback has validity and is consistently received.
Candidates that have done the necessary due diligence in providing prompt, thorough, and detailed reference information will undoubtedly be heavily considered for any job!
Written by: Rebecca Faulk
If you are reading this before you have already graduated, we need to back up a little bit and look at what you should be doing to better your chances while going to college. One of the best ways to help you determine what you want to do post-graduation and help you land a job is to get an internship or co-op with a company or organization in your field of study during your college years. This will help confirm or deter you from what you want to do, while giving you valuable work experience to start building your resume.
Next, you want to utilize your school’s career center. Not only can they help you network with companies, they can get you in touch with alumni and even get you involved with mock interviews for practice. They can also help you build your resume and format it (keep it to one page). Almost all colleges and universities today have career fairs (fall semester and spring semester). GO TO ALL OF THEM! You will network with HR and hiring managers of companies, learn about companies, and sharpen your skills when speaking with decision makers. You may get opportunities to move onto an interview with one or more companies and potentially have an offer in hand prior to graduation. A lot of the companies also look for candidates for their internship programs so just another way to get your foot in the door.
If you don’t have a job offer after graduation and don’t want to live in your parent’s basement, you have to go get a job! Create your resume and build your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are very professional and mirror each other without discrepancies (we have tips on this blog on how to create both). Another very important rule is to make sure you “Google” your name and see what comes up on the internet. Trust me that this is the first thing most hiring managers do now. Also, clean up and delete any pictures or posts on your Facebook / social media accounts that are inappropriate. As a recruiter, I have seen numerous times where candidates who were more than qualified for an opportunity were turned down because of what showed up their social media pages. It’s time to grow up and get ready for the professional world.
While you apply to jobs on job boards or directly on company websites, do not forget that your network of professionals is just as good, if not a better way to land your new job. Building your network and meeting decision makers in your field is still one of the best ways to land your next opportunity. I have seen where candidates have found an opportunity with a company due to their network who had never “officially” posted a role, but rather “created” a position for someone they just could not pass up.
Now a company gets in touch with you to move you on to the interview stage: what’s next? Make sure you invest in professional interviewing attire to dress the part. Also, I cannot stress enough: GO TO ALL INTERVIEWS! Even if you don’t think it may be the best opportunity or your dream job, there are a few reasons you want to take the interview. Interviewing is a skill all on its own and the more you do it, the better and more confident you will get at it. You may have thought you would not be interested in the role and then after learning more about the opportunity, it may actually be a great one. Also, you have just met some new decision makers to add to your network. Don’t forget to get contact information from them so you can send them a thank you note.
To sum it all up for getting that first job out of college:
- Get an internship or co-op during college relative to your field of study
- Go to all job fairs and utilize career services at your university or college
- Update your LinkedIn profile and resume
- Review, update, and edit all social media sites to make them professional
- Utilize and build your network
- Go to all interviews with companies and dress the part for the opportunity
Written by: Zandr Tesolowski
A professional resume is the key to getting an interview and landing your next job! For hiring managers that receive hundreds of resumes, the “6 second rule” is a very true statistic. In just 6 seconds, your resume could be put in the “no” pile based on formatting, typos, or TMI (too much info). Take the time to do it right! In most cases, less is more. The trick is finding the right balance. Always include key attributes and details that accentuate your skills, abilities, and accomplishments which make you the best candidate for the job and eliminate a second look at the rest. Focus on the work that requires more of you and “brands” you.
Every resume SHOULD contain the following information to showcase your professional experience:
- Information with relevant URL link to LinkedIn, professional email address, and one main contact phone number
- A Summary of Qualification or Career Narrative (in lieu of an Objective)
- Accurate dates, title, duties, and metrics for every position on the resume
- High impact bullet points
- Key words and phrases from a job posting without plagiarizing
- Accomplishment and achievements
Every resume should EXCLUDE:
- An outdated generic opening OBJECTIVE; instead, go with a summary statement
- Irrelevant and outdated experience
- Personal information such as social security, marital status, age, hobbies, or photograph
- Personal pronouns such as “my” or “I”; never write in 1st or 3rd person
- An unprofessional personal email address
- Blogs, Pinterest or Instagram URLs that are unrelated to your targeted position
- Current and past salary information
- Cliché buzz words such as “team player”, “go-getter”, or “outside the box”.
- Current computer skills in which you actually have knowledge and proficiency.
- References–but be prepared to give a list upon request
Most importantly, remember that a resume is as much about where you are going as where you have been. By showcasing your past experience you can trace a path to where you want to be!
Written by: Cathy Forbes Boggs, Professional Recruiter