Brush up on your interviewing skills with the help of the PRSSA Blog Team.
By: Jessie Walker
Interviews can be a very overwhelming and stressful experience, especially if you are new to the job application process. After perfecting your resume and cover letter, it is time to prepare for your interview! The following tips are to help ease your worries, and to aid you in scoring the job of your dreams!
1. Research the organization.
Do not stop at the company’s homepage! Go further! Look at social media, any blog posts, quarterly reports, and even biographies of the CEO or other employees at the company. You can even utilize Google Alerts, a tool that will email you anytime a new story appears relating to the term you set it to.
Make sure you understand their mission statement and vision so you know what type of business and community you are making the effort to become a part of. Not only can you communicate your research in your interview to impress your interviewer, but you can also use it for your own benefit to make sure the position is right for you.
2. Monitor and clean up your social media.
According to Forbes magazine, “91% of employers search your social media for any red flags.” Therefore, it is crucial to maintain your social media pages to make sure you are being professional. Avoid posting pictures of alcohol or drug related products, as well as profanity. A helpful tool for this is called Social Sweepster, an app that detects these types of objects and obscenities on your social media pictures and posts. Employers do not want to be hiring someone who might damage their reputation as an organization. After all, the employees of a company reflect the business itself.
3. Add a personal touch to “dressing for the occasion.”
The fact of the matter is that your employer is going to judge you by your appearance. It is important to dress appropriately so you can start your interview off on a good foot! If the company does not specify a dress code, then dress nicely anyway. It is much better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you want to stand out to employers, you might even take this a step further. Wear a subtle fashion statement that shows who you are as a person. For example, this might include a small pin from your hometown or a bracelet you purchased on your recent travels abroad. This small addition might even end up being a conversation starter or a point of common interest between you and your employer.
4. Prepare responses to cliché questions.
Interviewers typically ask common questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” or “What is your weakness?” Make sure you are prepared for those types of questions. When an employer asks the question, “Tell me about yourself,” it gives you an opportunity to show them that you’re not just a professional, but a person too. For example, tell them about a personal experience or story that relates to the job you are applying for. If you were interviewing for Disney, it might make sense to talk about your first experience with a Disney movie or visiting the theme park, and how that led to your passion for the company.
When it comes to the question, “what is your weakness,” avoid using pretty answers like “I can be too organized,” and tell them one of your actual weakness. Then, elaborate on that and focus on how you overcame that weakness or how you are currently working to make progress on it.
5. Give examples.
When answering questions, it is easy to focus on your skills and character traits that make you a good candidate for the position. While this is obviously important, showing is more effective than telling. Give your employer solid examples of how you demonstrated those traits or utilized those skills in a particular situation. For example, instead of only saying that you have good interpersonal communication skills, tell the employer about a time when you dealt with an upset customer and how you used those skills to handle the situation.
6. Ask questions.
Most employers will give the interviewee the chance to ask questions at the end of the interview. Don’t pass up this opportunity! If you do, it might give the interviewer the impression that you are not as enthusiastic about the position as you could be. It is also a good chance to learn more about the company and its community, as well as any responsibilities that were not clearly communicated in the job description. Be ready for this opportunity and prepare a list of meaningful and relevant questions prior to the
7. Follow up.
One of the most important things that interviewees commonly forget is to follow up with the employer after the interviewer. Send them an email thanking them for the interview, and make sure you show enthusiasm for the position. Making just a little bit more effort past the interview will help you stand out as a potential employee. Even if you don’t get the job, it may open up the door for opportunities in the future with that company.
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