Graduating college with a degree is an exciting time. When applying for a job, having that diploma in hand is an advantage over those that don’t. Unfortunately, a bad job interview can undo all the hard work of earning a degree. Students beginning their career path need to know the secrets to conducting a successful interview.
Preparation, honesty and maintaining a level head will all help during a job interview:
*Research – Learning as much as possible about the company prior to the interview is important. An applicant that takes the time to gather knowledge of a company they do not even yet work for likely will work just as hard, if not harder, once hired. Look through old newspaper articles, find the company’s website or even make contact with a public relations employee. A detailed knowledge of the company is not necessary. Pick out a few key items that are interesting and focus on those.
*Stay on topic – Be concise when answering questions. One of the most common interviewing mistakes is to go off on tangents instead of staying on point. Many applicants may believe giving long, rambling answers is better than short, specific answers, but good interviewers will notice their questions are not being addressed.
*Give examples – It’s always better to be able to give specific examples of how a skill has been utilized rather than just simply saying a skill has been learned. Showing a practical application, even if it was done in a classroom setting, demonstrates experience as well as knowledge.
*Tell the truth – When presented with a difficult question, many applicants will try to dance around the subject rather than answer it honestly. Admit a skill is lacking and then give examples of skills that are related that have been learned. Trying to cover up a lack of knowledge on a particular issue will seem evasive. Demonstrating a skill set similar, but different, to the one being asked about may also present a unique opportunity even the interviewer may not have known about.
*Be wary – Even when an interview is going well, applicants should keep their guard up. Becoming too friendly with the person giving the questions can lead to mistakes, including providing information or making statements that may be taken negatively. Always maintain a professional demeanor.
*Ask questions – It is okay for the applicant to ask questions as well. Inquire about how the company operates under certain situations and specifically ask how the job being sought fits into the structure of the business. Have the questions ready ahead of time. The research done ahead of time will help with this part.
A successful job interview requires more than just showing up and handing the potential employer a copy of the diploma earned in college. Preparation is essential, as well as being able to demonstrate real-world applications of skills. Most importantly, remain professional and answer honestly.