Interviewing Basics

The impression you make is an important qualification

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Picture yourself sitting nervously in a waiting room, thumbing through your portfolio and reviewing everything you have to say to “sell” yourself. Finally, your name is announced. The office door opens, you are introduced and you come face-to-face with the person who will decide whether you get the job you’re after – or not.

Skills, training and work experience do count a great deal, but a lot of decisions in the hiring process are based on impressions and performance in an interview. Obviously, employers are looking for the best candidate for the job. That means they’re looking for the most motivated, organized, determined and qualified person for the position.
 
Preparing for an interview involves more than bringing your resume and dressing well for the appointment. To present a well-put-together package in person, know exactly what kind of job you’re applying for and learn as much as possible about the company itself.

If you can, talk to current or former employees to get a feel for what typical company policy and everyday work is like – that can offer a lot of insight. Of course, use the Internet to discover the vision and mission statement of companies. Jot down questions and comments you have as you do your research.

Asking questions during the interview shows interest in the job, the industriousness employers like to see and willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ (by researching the prospective employing company). It is very important for job candidates to arrive early to the interview.

Dressing professionally really is as important as you hear ... a person only has one chance to make a first impression. Because interviews are so short, employers are basing their hiring decisions on resumes, personal interaction (including body language, so don’t slouch) and personal appearance. Sit up straight and establish eye contact with the interviewer.

Smile!

Also, take notes during the interview. Questions jotted down can be asked during and after the interview. This demonstrates you have been actively listening to the interviewer and are interested in the discussion. Find out – politely – how soon employers can announce their decision on job applicants. Take a spare copy or two of your resume in case the employer needs another copy. Resumes should have your contact email and postal addresses and phone numbers.

The bottom line? Arrive early, dress well, know the company, speak clearly, make eye contact, pay attention in the interview, ask questions and most of all, smile!
 

Job Application 101

A job application can be your first chance to make a good impression, so make sure it’s neat, well-written (no spelling errors!) and complete. 

• Have a printed resume and a list of other needed information (references, telephone numbers, addresses, dates, etc.) when calling on potential employers just in case you are asked to fill out an application on the spot.
• Carry a digital copy also on a portable flash drive to upload onto web-based application systems.
• Read through the entire form before you start filling it out.
• Don’t leave anything blank. If a section does not apply to you or the job you’re seeking, write in N/A (which stands for “not applicable”) so the employer will know you are thorough and didn’t just skip the question.
• Ask for two copies if there is a physical form. (Or, make a copy later). This way, you can work up a rough draft and make sure the one you turn in is in perfect condition.
• Inquire whether there’s a ditigal version of the form. If you present a printed response, it’s easier to read and looks more professional.

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