TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR JOB SEARCH IQ
Your best opportunity for
snagging a job offer comes through your interview. Here are some things
to keep in mind to make the best possible impression and improve your
IQ (Interview Quality).
1. Make a good impression before your interview. When you get the call
to set up an interview appointment, use that opportunity to make a great
first impression. Be polite, pleasant and professional. If possible,
tell the caller a little about yourself and why you're interested in
the job. Your favorable impression on an assistant who called the candidates
may help sway the decision in your favor.
2. Often the first interview is by phone. Try to have this interview
on a land line and not a cell phone for better reception. Treat it the
same as a face-to-face interview. Do your research before the call to
find out details about the company: new projects or acquisitions, product
and sales information, any news items about the company, etc. Although
the interviewer can't see you, it's important to use the same body language
you would in a face-to-face situation. The energy comes through in your
voice, so sit tall, lean forward and project your voice into the receiver.
3. Plan your wardrobe for a face-to-face interview ahead of time. Don't
wear anything flashy. Conservative always works, even if you're interviewing
for an artsy job. You can always relax your style once you're hired.
Wear limited jewelry: a watch for men and a watch or simple bracelet
and small earrings for women. If you have piercings, fewer adornments
are better for the interview. Have polished, unscuffed shoes and carry
a notepad for taking notes.
4. Be on time for your interview. That means being 10 minutes early!
If you don't know where you're going, try to do a dry run to see where
the building is, how long it takes to get there and, if you need parking,
where a convenient parking lot is. Plan to arrive in time to visit the
restroom to freshen up before your meet your interviewer, then take
a few minutes to sit quietly and get a sense of the organization. It's
amazing how much information you can pick up just by sitting and listening
to what's going on around you.
5. Have a firm, but not bone-crushing hand shake and offer your hand
as soon as you meet. Take a cue from your interviewer. If s/he offers
a weak shake, mirror it back. You might be meeting someone with arthritis
whose hands hurt and won't want to be squeezed too firmly. You don't
want them to remember you because you gave them pain. Smile and introduce
yourself. If you have an unusual or difficult name to pronounce, acknowledge
that it might be difficult to remember and repeat it.
6. Be ready to ask questions. Many people who conduct interviews don't
have much experience hiring people. Be ready with some questions you
want answered about both the company and the job. Think about what's
important to you about the particular job and then formulate some questions
ahead of time. Write them down so you can easily refer to them when
you're having the interview. You'll probably be a little nervous, so
writing them down will help you remember them. You'll also impress the
interviewer when you take out a piece of paper with questions already
written down. It shows you're prepared and done your homework.
7. Practice interviewing with a friend, colleague, career advisor, even
your cat. If you're going on an interview for a job you really want,
you can't be too prepared. Practicing asking questions and giving answers
will go a long way to making you more relaxed. You'll give a better
impression if you're not too tense and practice helps take away some
of the anxiety.
After your interview, be sure to write a note to anyone you met, thanking
them for their time and interest - and ask for the job. This is no time
to be shy. If you want the job, ask for it - politely of course. Also,
this note should be hand written and sent through the mail, not email.
This means you'll need to get the correct spelling and address of anyone
you interview with. This is easy if you ask for their cards before you
leave their offices.
Interviewing is a skill that anyone can learn. Make yourself different
by knowing how to conduct a good interview. And good luck!