Welcome to adulting! Is it possible you are here because you had just graduated? Maybe you never even went to college. Either way there are fundamental must know interview tips one should get acquainted with if they plan on landing the dream job for the career field they have chosen.
Success is not only about education, even though it is an advantage in the pursuit of success. Instead the most essential factor is preparation through goal setting and accountability. Successfully landing your dream job is no different.
I have conducted 100’s of interviews in my role as a sales trainer. One thing I can assure you of is that in the big leagues your interviewer will pay attention to everything during the interview, but forget you existed when you leave the door. You must stand out from the rest of the shmucks who think its a game or you will fall victim to that certainty.
Some of these interview tips may come off as no brainers at first, but understanding the psychology a bit deeper may give you an advantage during preparation and execution. Submitted for the approval of the millennial society, I call this article “Must Know Interview Tips for Landing Your Dream Job in the Career Field of Your Choice.”
Preparation is Professionalism
One thing I always used to say when training sales people was that professionalism starts the night before. As more of a figure of speech, the phrase reflects the idea of preparation. This is essential to becoming professional and maintaining that status during your pursuit of success.
- Understanding your Career Goals
There are so many doors of opportunity for us out there. The real question is which door do we go through. How do we land the job of our dreams? First we must identify within ourselves what our career dreams are. Where would we like to be in ten, twenty, maybe thirty years? Once we have a firm idea of what our dreams are we can better plan in our niche.
Start researching what the typical career path for your focus would entail. Is their growth potential? What is the expected time commitment to reach desired position? What are your salary requirements and does this career meet, or exceed those requirements?
You will want to honestly critique yourself and your skill sets. Do you have the necessary requirements both tangibly and intangibly that will ensure your success? If you do not, what further education or investment would help you achieve them?
Next ask yourself, would that investment bring a positive return both financially and emotional? If not then that career is probably not best for you. If however you are confident that the investment would bring a positive return, than read further.
Lastly, are you passionate about this industry? You have to remember that you are going to be in this career field for the next thirty plus years if you commit to the nine to five lifestyle. If you are not absolutely passionate about what your getting yourself into, you wont make it past five years. Go back to step one and reassess your career goals.
Check out this article for help in determining the right career move. Now that you are confident in your decision…
- Polish your Resume and your Image
You want the part, you have to play the part. Your resume will be the first glance that the hiring team will get of you. 75% of candidates are discarded for unprofessional emails alone. The most important part is to stand out amongst the remaining 25%. Check out this DIY Guide to writing a killer resume.
Start by networking with individuals in your respective field on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn network will give you a great foundation to build your career. This network will become a wealth of knowledge immensely beneficial to your growth. Learn how to use LinkedIn to find the best job for your career goals.
Next you will need to polish your social media and begin to take those mediums seriously. 93% of recruiters are intending to look at your social media profiles with 89% of recruiters saying they use LinkedIn to find talent. Place your polished resume o your LinkedIn profile and keep all certificates up to date.
Having an unprofessional profile can be detrimental to your career aspirations portraying you as unorganized and lazy. Having no profile gives off an out of touch vibe as over 277 million people use LinkedIn for career placement
This should go without saying but if your career choice is more professional in nature than you may want to get a professional headshot taken and use that photo across your social media platforms.
- Research interview questions geared towards that position
Answering questions in which you are unprepared to answer can be quite intimidating. Well the fact is that without proper research, you will be entering in to a firing squad. While there may be the typical questions everyone asks, the best way to answer any of the questions you will encounter, would be to log on to their webpage and learn as much as you can about the company and the industry in which they operate.
Remember preparation is professionalism. Answer with lucid well thought out responses and you will absolutely impress your interviewer. When researching, also remember to use LinkedIn to network to others who maybe have just landed a similar position.
As previously noted this network of yours, advantageous with its depth of resources, will be paramount to your growth in the industry. Make it a point to ask members some of the questions they received and which they found to be most difficult. After you have compiled your list of expected interview questions it is time to polish your responses.
- Prepare your responses to reflect your ability to succeed
I’ll say it again. You want the part, you play the part. By this point you have spent a good amount of time and energy researching your desired career field and players in the game. Now its time to take information and prepare responses for your upcoming interview questions.
During preparation it would be best to write down your responses and practice saying them out loud slowly with eye contact and confidence. Ask a roommate, a family member, or friend to sit across from you asking the questions you expect based on your network research.
The most important thing to remember for your responses is that you emphasize how your experiences tie in to the job requirements. Seriously understanding the industry is great, but you need to show the value you bring with examples of how you would bring it. Your experiences will be your qualifier, your knowledge will be an added incentive.
Check out these “20 Things an Interviewer Looks For During a Job Interview.” Create a checklist to ensure that you cover each point listed therein for your upcoming interview.
Pre-Interview & Lobby Etiquette
So here we go, into the money round where all your hard work and preparations pay dividends. The interview is the time when the employer gets to put a face and personality to a qualified resume. You have passed the other 75% of people who never even had resume recognition; time to beat the remaining 25%.
Dress for the job you want. If your position requires you to wear business attire do not go into that interview in anything less. In contrast if your career fosters a laid back casual environment than no need to walk up in the building dressed to the nines. If you smoke, I recommend you hold off until after the interview as not to smell like an ashtray in the hiring manager’s office.
Upon entering the office, greet the receptionist with a warm greeting. Introduce yourself as the candidate for the open position and the interviewers name and scheduled time. Make sure you are there at least 15 minutes early. There is no such thing as being on time. If you are “on time”, you are late. If your late, do not bother showing up. Just plan ahead and be early, it goes a long way.
While in the lobby waiting for your interview to begin, go over your responses to sharpen your edge. Do not use that time to sit on your phone and look at social media.
Truth be told one thing that always turned me off to candidates instantly was when I walked in to call my next interview and the whole lobby is staring at their phones with not one head rising up to hear their name being called. Professionalism people lets remember that.
When your name is finally called and the interviewer comes to greet you, stand straight with good posture and introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Maintain eye contact while speaking and speak with a strong confident tone. This shows the interviewer you mean business and you are confident in you ability to deliver.
The Firing Squad
Now its time to actually deliver. While in the interview you will want to sit up straight with your materials – notepad, pen, questions, etc. – out in front of you ready to take your notes. I always appreciated when someone brought a notepad to an interview.
Active writing in notepads proved to me they were listening to what I was actually saying instead of having that blank stare of delusion. Most often those notes would be used later in the interview as tie in questions, or further explanation of the position. Check out How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions.
At this point you have answered their questions. You have highly demonstrated what qualifies you for the positon using the prepared responses. Now is the time to put the icing on the cake.
Become the Firing Squad
One thing you can be certain of; the interviewer will want to hear from you some intelligent questions related to the position. Do not take this time to ask about salary and perks.
Instead ask the interviewer about their experiences and how they handled adversity getting to where they are. You will be surprised how beneficial those series of questions can be. Remember your job is to stand out amongst the 25% who make it to the interview stage.
Incorporate questions such as long-term growth and aspirations in the sector. Where does the company plan to be in 5 years? What are the locations immediate goals? How can you as the next new hire member be expected to surpass those goals? What are some of the obstacles you can help them overcome?
Whichever questions you choose to ask, do not ask questions than can easily be found elsewhere. This show a lack of knowledge of the industry and lack of preparation for the interview, both of which are bad signs to prospective employers.
When your interview is over, remember to always thank the interviewer for their time and consideration in meeting with you. Give a firm and confident handshake as you depart. Hopefully with following all these steps you have left a great impressions to help you stand out above the 25%.
You are not finished yet…
As a former interviewer I used to think so highly of those who would reach out to me after the interview as a follow up. To me it was a way to remember them during my hiring process. Most importantly it showed a real desire and motivation to make this career move.
Recruiters and hiring managers can always spot the difference between someone who just wants a job to someone who wants a career. The follow up is a great tool to display the latter.
You should have received a copy of the interviewers email during the interview. Use that email to send your follow up no later that 24 hours after the interview. The content of the follow up should include your contact information, a sincere thank you note, and a short concise reassertion as to your qualifications to fill the position.
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I encourage you to take these interview tips seriously. Doing so would give you a big advantage over the schlubs who do not take their career choices seriously. If you’re looking for some more great Interview Secrets to help you land your chosen dream job, check out these e-books!
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