You’ve landed a job interview. Congratulations! Now, all you’ve got to do is nail it.
One of the most well-received and highly ranked panels from RE:WORK IV was the Human Resources Cage Match. The panel included Mary Beth Barrett-Newman, President of 2nd Career Consulting, andBeth Facette-Dent of Dept. 11.
Take a few tips from these human resource professionals to make sure you rock the interview and secure an offer.
1. Do your research.
Do everything you can to learn about the company before going into the interview. Scour their website, do a few Google searches, and check out their social-media sites (while you’re at it, clean up your own, because they’ll be looking, too!). Find out if the company has been in the news lately, how it got started, who the president is, etc. You should know big names and projects and be able to talk about them if the interviewer brings them up. Barrett-Newman also recommends knowing what’s going on in the world that relates to your industry.
2. Look the part.
Appearances matter! Always dress on the conservative side, although your style may change based on the position and company for which you’re interviewing.
For business positions, a suit is always a safe bet. For more creative fields, you can never go wrong with a pencil skirt, tucked-in blouse and sensible pumps. Show your personality with accessories or a colored bag.
3. Pick three things you want to say about yourself during the interview—and say them!
Put on your salesperson hat and decide in advance what three skills or examples you want to get across during your interview, Facette-Dent suggests, and actually articulate them. It’s easy to get caught up in the conversation and forget to mention that you have in fact had experience managing large groups, or that you spearheaded that project that increased revenue by 20 percent. Remind yourself of your three things before the interview and make sure you get them in during the time.
4. Always answer questions positively.
“Turn a negative into a positive about what you have done,” Barrett-Newman says.
For example, if someone asks if you can create budgets and you can’t, that’s OK, but don’t frame it that way. Say that while you haven’t created a budget from scratch, you are excellent at managing projects that come in at or below budget. Then proceed to give a real-life example.
5. Demonstrate that you can do the things listed on the job description.
Carefully reread the job description before the interview, and provide specific examples of how you meet the criteria. If a requirement is the ability to write a press release, talk about ones you have written before; better yet, bring one with you to the interview.
6. Say you want the job.
It seems obvious, but this shows a great attitude and an actual interest in the position, Facette-Dent says. Just because you show up to the interview doesn’t mean the interviewer knows how much you actually want the job. It never hurts to give an extra reminder!
7. Ask questions.
Think of a few questions you’d like to ask the hiring manager about the position, and write them down so you’ll remember them at the end of the interview. Not sure what to ask? Here are 8 questions that work in most fields.
What should you avoid asking? Whether or not the workplace is “family friendly.” Even though your kids may be the most important part of your life, you want to let the interviewer know that the job will be your number one priority.
8. Follow up.
Get the business cards of whomever you interviewed with and be sure to follow up. Send a quick thank-you email, four to five sentences, immediately after you leave the office. Follow that up with a hand-written thank-you note that can remind them of something specific you talked about. This not only demonstrates great manners, but it’s also another opportunity to show off your writing skills.
Additional reporting by Megan Parkins