There are protocols, rules, and best practices for interviewing within different industries and with different employers, including what to say/not say; how to answer tough questions, and how to remain genuine.
- True or false? if you interview in a tech company, you don't have to dress up, if you know the interviewer, you can chill, and don't have to be professional, you never want to smile in a job interview. Well I hope you got those all right, 'cause they're all false. Regardless of the industry, you always dress up for a job interview. Because doing so shows respect for the process as well as the person you're meeting with, even if you know the interviewer, the process is formal and you should treat it as such.
And, if it's appropriate to smile, please do so. Your body language will communicate a lot about who you are. Here are some of my do's and don't's for the interview. Do show up on time, promptness is important because you are showing respect for the interviewer and acknowledging that their time is important. Always bring clean copies of your resume, even if you sent it ahead of time, it is professional to have copies with you to hand to the interviewer.
Be clear about your experience, explain what you have to offer from your classwork to your internships and what makes you stand out, try to be specific as you can. Practice answering interview questions. If you get a question that you didn't anticipate, just pause, take a breath, and tie your response to how you could add value to the company. Prepare yourself for this trick question, tell me about yourself? When an interviewer asks you this, what they really want to hear is how your background and your passion make you qualified to do the job that they're hiring for.
Practice good body language, like your mother always taught you, look people in the eyes when your speaking to them. Nod your head in agreement and use hand gestures to indicate support to your points. Similarly, be sure to sit up in your chair, but don't be all stiff. Most senior executives will tell you that the thing they're looking for in young applicants is passion and authenticity. The hiring manager is deciding if they should invest in you, make it easy for them to see that you want the job.
Here are some things not to do. Don't ask about money in the first interview. Obviously if you get a job offer and they didn't mention salary, then you are gonna ask. Always let the interviewer end the meeting, avoid getting up and bolting for the door when they say, thank you for coming by today. Don't leave your phone on silence or vibrate mode, instead keep your technology turned off, but close to you in case you need to check your calendar for that follow-up interview.
Avoid negative statements. Try to rephrase your responses into something positive. So for example, instead of saying, I don't have a lot of computer skills, you could say, I've used Powerpoint and I learn technology very quickly. Never speak ill of other job candidates, other companies, your professors, or former bosses. The world is small and information spreads. It's important that you remain genuine in an interview. You're gonna likely be nervous and that's normal, the interviewers know this, but if you try to come across as someone your not, then you're playing an act and then nobody wins.
Instead show them your energy and your passion and your hope for the future, in your future, to bring joy to the job. Show them that you are someone that others want to teach, grow, and that they will want to invest in.
Personal branding expert Lida Citroën shows you how to present yourself to employers in the best light, from your resume to your social media presence, to your interview attire. Lida also shares best practices for finding and applying to jobs, and setting yourself up for success before graduation. She helps you understand how to use social media strategically to network with future coworkers and mentors, and research the companies you really want to work for. Her advice is focused on helping you find a good fit with an employer that matches your passion, salary requirements, and values.
- Selling "you" and building your brand
- Leveraging an internship
- Finding your network
- Identifying your ideal employer
- Finding jobs online and in person
- Competing with others
- Writing resumes and cover letters
- Acing the interview