With all of the challenges the current economy is throwing at us, more and more people find themselves looking for new jobs. Many people perform great in the initial screening process only to find themselves being passed over after the in-person interview. Here are five job interview tips that you can use to increase the chances that you’ll ace your next job interview.
1. Be On Time
This seems very simple. However, you would be amazed at how many candidates who look great on paper wind up not getting the job because they were late for the interview. This is a common “kiss of death” among corporate interviewers everywhere. There had better be some serious extenuating circumstances. Otherwise, your interview was probably over before you got there.
In today’s world of cell phones and PDAs, being late without notification is pretty much inexcusable. If anything, you should try to arrive at the interview 10 to 15 minutes early. This will not only ensure that you make it on time (leaving earlier to arrive earlier will help you offset any delays you might encounter on the way), but give you enough time to center yourself. You can go over any questions you may have for the interviewer. This will help you feel ready, confident and not rushed.
2. Dress the Part
As a bank manager, you have to maintain the right “look” for your branch. Many candidates who have great experience and interview are ultimately passed over because they do not look the part. Nose rings and blue hair may be “edgy”, but a bank is not an “edgy” environment. At the same time, showing up for an interview at the local record shop in a three-piece suit may not be right, either. So do your research — get an idea of what the dress standards are for the business with which you are applying. Then dress slightly above them. This will show the employer that you understand their business and that you take it seriously. This does not mean you always have to wear a suit; it means you have to know what is “professional” for the position you are applying for.
3. Have a Great Resume
It is important to have more than a good resume. Almost everyone has a good resume. You need to have a great resume.
Your resume is your professional calling card, and the way it is written can make or break you. Your resume should be clear and concise. Highlighting all related experience that you have, as well as your education and certifications. Though you may be tempted to give the employer the “War and Peace” version of your resume, it is recommended that you give more of a “highlight reel” instead. Try to keep it to one page with bullet points. This resume is more likely to be read rather than a four-page tome.
Try to tailor your resume for each position and company that you are applying to. Finally, don’t forget to bring an extra copy with you. In today’s world of HR departments, the electronic copy of your resume might get lost in the shuffle.
Relax and Smile
This may sound crazy, but the person interviewing you is usually under the same kind of stress that you are. The employer needs to fill the position, and the interviewer has the uncomfortable job of probing every applicant selected. This is a very difficult and demanding task. So take a deep breath and smile. Keep eye contact and try to seem as naturally relaxed as possible. More often than not, the person hired is the one who seemed to “click” with the interviewer. It is easier to connect with the interviewer if you can relax a little bit.
Many applicants fail to get hired due to lying in the interview or on their resume. Lying on your resume is very dangerous. If caught, you can lose professional credibility. If your lies are exposed after you’re hired, the company can dismiss you immediately. It can be tempting to puff up your experience by changing your title or inventing jobs. While this looks good on paper, it will give you problems during the interview. Not being able to substantiate your past will make for uncomfortable moments when you stumble for answers to job interview questions regarding the fabricated experience.
Another important aspect of honesty is the truth regarding your past. Some people have less than desirable pasts that they feel will jeopardize their chances of getting a job. If you fall into this group, it is important that the interviewer find out about your past from you and not through any background checks that they will probably end up requesting anyway. This gives you an opportunity to explain how your behavior has changed since you made those bad choices. In all likelihood, this will actually lead to some credibility for you in the eyes of the interviewer as they will respect your honesty and courage.
There are no surefire ways to ensure that you will get any job. These tips are merely designed to help you maximize your chances. Use them singly or in combination with one another as is appropriate for each interviewing situation. Remember — whether you get the job or not, every interview will leave you with something. An unsuccessful interview can become a learning tool to help you move towards success and help you prepare for the next one.
Every interview is different; you have to be ready for anything. If you use every interviewing tool you have, you will eventually be successful in getting the job you want.
(Image courtesy of seeveeaar under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 generic license.)
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