With the country preparing to get everyone back to work in a whole new normal, it is crucial to prepare for the job interview process! With a very deep candidate pool these days, it’s essential to consider all of the pitfalls that are out there and how to avoid them. It is important to make your time with the decision-maker a positive experience that hopefully lands you the job!
1. DO NOT SEND THE WRONG RESUME
Let’s face it — when starting the job hunt, your resume is your first, first impression (your second first impression is via webcam or the face-to-face interview). With so many applicants out there vying for the same position, you must stand out in the right way!
So, answer these questions before you hit send:
- Did you run a spell/grammar check
- Is this resume geared towards the particular job you are applying for
- Is your information in easy-to-read bullet points
- Do you have unnecessary information listed (nobody needs to know you were the prom queen)
- Are your email address and phone number on the resume
2. DON’T FORGET TO BRING A COPY OF YOUR RESUME WITH YOU!
- Phone Interview: have it in front of you with any additional notes you made in preparation for the conversation
- Webcam Interview: have it next to you on the desk or even posted behind the screen to reference
- In-person Interview: always bring at least three copies of it with you and make sure they are new, crisp, and clean
3. DO NOT FORGET TO CONSIDER SOCIAL MEDIA
In a world where we can locate anything or anyone in a couple of clicks, it is especially important to understand your personal brand and the footprint you are leaving in the world of social media.
Please consider these things:
- Facebook: Make your profile private and make sure your profile picture is something you would want your new boss to see.
- Instagram: Again, be aware of what you have out there for your hiring manager to see. Make your account private and remove any posts that you think could potentially be harmful to the hiring process.
- LinkedIn: Make sure your profile picture is professional, and make sure the experience you have listed on your resume matches what you have listed here, as well.
4. DON’T BE LATE/DON’T BE TOO EARLY FOR THE JOB INTERVIEW
I know you are probably thinking, “Well, duh!” But, there is a little more to take into consideration by adding phone screens and webcam interviews into the mix.
You want to treat a phone interview the same as an in-person interview — be ready 15 minutes prior and prepared to take the call early, as well! Don’t forget to answer with a professional and enthusiastic, “Good Morning, Kimberly speaking.”
For a webcam, sign on five minutes early and sit in your chair as you would a waiting area, sitting up straight and ready, with a big smile on your face!
If you have an in-person interview scheduled, be there 15 minutes early, research the available parking BEFORE you leave the house, and be sure to bring your mask and be on the lookout for all signs posted and on the floor regarding social distancing. Upon arrival, simply state that you have a “meeting with” and not an “interview with” to the person who greets you, as you never know what the circumstances of the situation are. You don’t want to stir up any unnecessary trouble.
DO NOT BE TOO EARLY
Frankly, too early is just as bad as late.
5. DO NOT THINK THEY AREN’T LOOKING AT YOUR ATTIRE/BACKGROUND
Here’s that other first impression we were talking about earlier! You have always been told to overdress rather than underdress, but don’t forget the details and take into consideration the job you are trying to land! The details are key — is your belt frayed? Are your shoes polished? Be sure to think about every single aspect of your outfit because it represents your eye for detail. Also, never forget always to sit up straight!
Ready to ZOOM? Be mindful of your background when preparing for a webcam interview! A clean environment is crucial. Also, make sure that you are not sitting next to a bright window that will backlight. You make it difficult, if not impossible, for the other person to see your face.
6. DON’T FORGET THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONFIDENT AND COCKY
“Be humble in your confidence, but courageous in your character.” Melanie Koulouris
You must find a way to show that your experience in your previous positions would be a huge asset to this new company with a graceful and elegant delivery.
7. DO NOT FORGET TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Make sure to know as much about the company and the person you are sitting in front of before the meeting. Walking into the interview knowing what the company’s current initiatives are, which charities they work with, and their latest successes show great interest in the position on your part and will leave a lasting impression. Remember, with access to LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, we sometimes have a chance to review the profile of the person who is about to interview you. There is a chance you have some similar hobbies or work history that you can work into the conversation to make an extra connection with them.
8. DON’T TRY TO TAKE THEIR JOB IN THE INTERVIEW
This topic is one of the most important things to consider in the interview process. Upon occasion, your interviewer will ask, “where do you want to be in two years or five years from now,” and you mustn’t lose focus on the job for which you are applying! A classic candidate mistake that may end up in you losing the opportunity is the “In two years, I hope to have YOUR position” answer. Although ambition is an excellent quality, they need to know that you are, and can remain, focused on the job they are currently offering. We always want you to prepare yourself for this question and to be able to answer with determination and humility — “I hope to be running the most successful store in the district and that you know that when it comes to results, you don’t have to look further than my unit.” The promotions will come with effort and results, so take this time you have with them and use it wisely.
9. DO NOT EVER TALK BADLY ABOUT A PREVIOUS EMPLOYER
The best suggestion here — prepare. Know this: Interviewers are going to ask you about your previous employers, and they want to know why you left! Walk into the interview, having prepared positive things you learned, and then move into how that job prepared you for the next.
10. DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW THROUGH
Send that follow-up email or letter. Remember that you are not the only person applying for this position, so find a way to stand out when thanking the interviewer for their time. If you are confident that you can get a hand-written note to them promptly, then please do so! In the letter, be sure to mention something specific that you talked about in the interview that made a lasting impression. What did you laugh at together? Did you find a connection beyond the job that ties you to one another?
Be sure to ask for a business card to spell the person’s name correctly and have the proper address.
Now is the time to prepare. It is essential to think about the long-game and know that starting the search and interviewing process NOW is key to not being left behind. The interview process can be a long one, and the outcome is not guaranteed. So, the importance of being well equipped to handle all the scenarios that are presented, the better.
Extensive Support Throughout the Job Interview Process
At Goodwin Recruiting, we take great pride in the honest and transparent relationships we develop with our candidates and always guide our candidates the best we can. If you are ready to start your job search, we are prepared to partner with you!