With the economy continuing to struggle and the job market continuing to be rough, we should all be on our toes and be ready to start going out on job interviews should we lose our current jobs.
The unemployment rate everywhere now stands at an undesirable figure, so while it may not happen today, or tomorrow, or next year, there’s a good chance that one day soon many of us will have to go job hunting — filling out applications and going to interviews.
For folks who have been with their current employer for a long time, it may have been decades since they went on their last job interview, making the prospect very intimidating. Appearing nervous or afraid isn’t likely to impress prospective employers, so it’s important for these folks to quickly brush up their skills and be ready to make a good impression at job interviews. Developing job interview skills and making the sale to prospective employers is imperative if you wish to secure employment in this tough job market.
If you want to do well on a job interview, you should first do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing with — its corporate culture, its primary and secondary lines of business, current challenges facing the company, etc. Also learn as much as possible about the specific job you’re interviewing for — what the duties are, what equipment or software you’ll need to master, who you’ll be dealing with, etc. If an employer sees you as knowledgeable about his or her business, they’ll be more likely to hire you because they won’t have to invest as much time and resources into training you.
When interviewing with a prospective employer, be clear about exactly what you can offer the company and what skills you bring to the table. This is where all that homework you did will pay off. By being able to specifically tell your employer what you can do for them and how you can make their organization better you immediately gain a leg up on prospective employees who can only offer vague answers to these questions.
Another key element of acing a job interview is to dress professionally and be on time for your interview. Dressing professionally shows that you care about how you are perceived and that you will conduct yourself professionally. Being punctual illustrates this attention to detail and work ethic too.
One tricky question prospective employers may ask you is “What are your weaknesses?” The best way to handle this question is to tell a story about a weakness you used to have and how you’ve either overcome it or are overcoming it. This shows you as a proactive employee who isn’t afraid to do a little self improvement work.
If you have dings on your employment record, such as a termination from a job, be upfront about it, but try to put yourself in the best light possible. Don’t sound bitter or angry about it, as that may lead your prospective employer to believe you have an attitude problem.
Interviews can be brutal. But with proper preparation and presentation you can ace them and get the job you need.