Published: September 13th, 2015
This is the beginning of what I call a Job Experience Series. What makes this advice column different than anything else you can google, is that is based on real life experiences from students just like you; from FIU, from the AMA, struggling the same way to get a job in Miami.
Previously, you have most likely researched how to polish your resume for optimal effect. If not, no worries, we will most likely have a workshop for it soon. But now it’s time we teach you what to do after you get that very satisfying, but nerve wrecking call asking you for an interview.
In my own job research and training, I have read many articles outlining what one should or should not do in a job interview. From Forbes to the Business Insider the steps always seemed pretty simple to me. They always touched on the importance of the dress, the perfect way of sitting, and even how one should answer to certain questions. Probably like many of you, I followed these guides strictly, but they were never quite enough.
With time, I naturally began to change my interview strategy a little. What worked for me might not work for everyone or for every job interview. It’s also important to understand that we are all different individuals with different qualities, so we each have different strengths that we can utilize to show our employers we are the best candidates. Below, I will outline some of the strategies that have worked for me:
Don’t be scared to be you.
I know this might somewhat sound like a cliché, but it’s truly surprising when you notice you haven’t actually shown yourself to any employer. You know who you are and what you are capable of, but what they have been seeing is a regular candidate with a somewhat impressive resume and no personality. See the problem there?
Don’t be scared to show who you are. If you are bubbly and like laughing, don’t suppress it, laugh. Even better, make them laugh with you. If you think about it, no one wants to share office hours with someone who is overly strict and doesn’t know how to enjoy the little small moments.
Answer truthfully to questions.
Having an already pre-planned list of answers for generally asked questions is great. Believe me, I’m also guilty. But I have found that answering questions in the moment, as they are asked, without previous research, sounds more truthful and thought through. We are scared of getting asked a question and not knowing how to answer, and that’s perfectly normal. However, taking a few moments to think a question through before giving an answer has its benefits. First of all, the employer will see that you are a person who is not scared to take a moment to think things through, that you are legitimately looking for an answer, and that you re being truthful. Don’t be scared, the interview is about you, so you will have the answer.
Make them laugh
This does not mean you need to practice your stand-up comedy show in an interview. Please don’t. However, don’t be so tense, laugh a little with your interviewer. It has been scientifically proven that making someone laugh increases chemicals in their brain that makes them feel comfortable and happy, feelings they later on relate to the person they shared laughter with. In other words, they will feel close and confortable with you in whatever little way, which might increase your chances of being hired!
I know I have mostly expressed my dislike for pre-planed questions and excessive research on what to do in an interview. However, there’s one type of research I fully believe in: know your company, know your employer.
I am of the belief that once you step through the company’s door you should already know everything there’s to know about the company and the person interviewing you. Are they married, do they have kids, what’s their alma mater, what previous jobs did they hold? Basically, anything that you can scratch off the Internet is game. Not only will this help you understand them better, it will allow for small talk if needed.
Now, this doesn’t mean you will openly admit to your employers you know how many children they have and where they went for vacation last month. It is solely a research to know more about them and know how to communicate with them. Don’t overdo it; no one wants to employ a stalker, either.
Furthermore, knowing small details or changes about the company and bringing them up during the interview will put you a step ahead of the competition. It will show that you are attentive to detail, that you cared enough to do research, and lets face it, it will satiate your curiosity. After all, they say you should learn something new every day, why can’t it be about the place you want to work for?
Some of these tips might be simple, but I single handedly believe they have helped me acquire my current job position…and the one before that. Again, everyone is different, but as long and you are truthful and represent yourself accordingly there’s nothing you should worry about. Getting a job is much like finding the perfect match to a puzzle. It takes time to get it right.
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