Wednesday, May 13, 2015

10 tips for landing the perfect job interview

You’ve secured a good education, maybe taken a few classes to sharpen your job skills, and now you’re looking for work. Yet too many seeking employment often overlook a vital component: the interview.

That’s why we’ve lined up several tips to help settle your nerves and get you to your next job.

Be prepared.
Plenty of resources exist to help you get ready. At Cuyamaca College, for example, students have free access to Perfect Interview, a software program enabling job seekers to prepare for hundreds of interview questions for all types of positions. The program, accessible both on and off campus, allows users to create videos of practice interviews to help improve skills and build confidence.

At Grossmont College, Student Services has compiled a handy dandy booklet offering myriad tips for interviewing success.

“Do your research,” said Cuyamaca College Counselor Lisa Rodriguez.

Know what the employer wants.
Why do you want to work here? What can you offer us? Why should we hire you? What distinguishes you from the two dozen other people who applied for this job? Those are the types of questions that are common in interviews.

Dress appropriately. The general rule of thumb, notes, is to dress one or two levels higher than the job you’re interviewing for. And be formal. If you have tattoos and are not searching for a job at a tattoo parlor, cover them up. If you wear an abundance of earrings, leave them at home and show your potential employer you know how to play the game.

Plan your outfit.  Nothing can be worse to get dressed up for your interview only to discover that dress doesn’t fit anymore or your shirt has a stain. Pick out what you’re going to wear several days before your interview to make sure there are no surprises.

Don’t be afraid to seek advice. Career centers at both Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College offer an array of tips and resources, including sage advice on crafting a resume. Don’t be shy. We’re here to help.

Know your route.  The Internet is here for a reason. Use it! Use Mapquest or other web services to detail the route you plan to take to your interview. Assuming it’s not too far from home, drive there to see how long it will take. The last thing you want is to find out you’re running late and rush at the last minute, only to arrive as a sweaty, nervous wreck.

Don’t weigh yourself down.
Don’t bring a bulky purse. Minimalism works best. Oh, and the cellphone has to stay in the car. “Even if you have it set to silent, the vibration sound if you get a call could be distracting,” notes Cindy Morrin, Cuyamaca College Career Center Coordinator. “You’re sending a message that the interview is not the most important thing in the world.”

Be positive. Don’t complain. That goes for the weather, the traffic, or parking. And especially not about your last job. Complaining sets off alarm bells and sets a bad first impression.

Be courteous. Your impression begins the minute you enter the office. Don’t be rude to support staff – they’re often asked to share their impression with the interview team.

Be ready to ask questions
– when asked to. Interviews often end with a potential employer asking, “Do you have any questions for us?” Asking when a decision will be made, asking what characteristics the company is looking for, or asking if there is room for advancement are all excellent queries that any potential employee would want to know.