Intro

Getting a job interview puts you one step closer to the job you want, and yet the smallest details can make or break your chances of getting your foot in the door. Whether you’re interviewing for an administrative assistant job or for a CEO position, keep these all-important details in mind for a successful interview that will put you at the top of the list.

Most people don’t realize that many recruiters dislike the interview process as much as the interviewee. A recruiter tries to do three things during the interview: Sell the organization, assess your interest in the organization, and determine if your qualifications match those on your resumé. Likewise, your role during the interview is to sell yourself, understand the company’s needs and respond to those needs. You’ve heard this a million times but if you’ve done your homework and researched the prospective employer, your efforts will stand out.

How to Dress for a Job Interview

Your resume is the most important piece of information you can give to a prospective employer. This information lets him know that you have the experience, the drive and the intelligence to do the job he’s hiring for. But when it comes to conducting an actual interview, most employers base at least some of their hiring decisions on how you look when you walk in the door. Make sure your clothing is appropriate for the occasion. In a tight job market, any little advantage may be enough to get you the job. Take advantage of this fact and look the part when you go to a job interview.

Begin with scrupulous personal hygiene. Shower, shampoo and brush your teeth. Fix your hair in a neat and uncomplicated style. Avoid colognes and perfumes; some employers may be allergic to them or find them offensive. Do wear antiperspirant deodorant.

Consider the job for which you are applying when choosing your clothing for an interview. Interviewing for a job in a bookstore is much different from from interviewing for a position running a bank. A good rule of thumb is to look at the average wardrobe of the person doing the job you’ll be doing, and dress one or two steps up from there. This may mean nice khaki slacks and a Polo shirt for a theme park summer job, or your best business suit and briefcase for an office position.

When it comes to conducting an actual interview, most employers base at least some of their hiring decisions on how you look when you walk in the door.

Pay attention to your shoes. Wear the best pair of conservative leather shoes you own, and polish them until they are clean and shiny. Every employer has a certain quirk he bases decisions on; a surprising number of them name the state of an applicant’s shoes as one of them.

Keep jewelry to a bare minimum. Wear a watch, a wedding ring or small ring and very small earrings, at the most. If you have facial piercings and you are interviewing for a more conservative position, remove them or replace them with clear plastic placers. The subject will most likely come up, so be prepared with an answer as to whether you are willing to permanently remove them for the sake of getting the job.

Wear clothing that is freshly washed or dry cleaned. Don’t try to get away with wearing anything on the second day. You want this to be your best impression. Don’t wear your interview clothing for half a day before showing up for the interview, if you can possibly help it. Save the outfit until right before you leave, then change your clothes into the fresh interview wardrobe.

Choose conservative colors when picking out an interview outfit. If your clothing looks almost boring and forgettable, you’ve probably chosen exactly the right outfit. After all, you want them to remember you, not what you wore.

What Colors to Wear to the Job Interview?

The majority of job candidates do not consider the color of the clothing they should wear to the interview. Color has an impact on people even if they are not aware of that fact. Properly chosen color choices for an interview offers a small edge for the job candidate.

Colors That Should Not be Worn

Men should not wear pinks or purples. These two colors give men the vibe that they are not strong enough to handle the required job duties. Black should never be worn as a primary color. Accent pieces in black are best. An entirely black suit will make a job candidate come off as inflexible or pretentious. Red and orange are emotive colors and will not portray the message that the job candidate wishes to send. Animal prints should be avoided as many people are put off by these choices. Animal fur should never be worn to an interview as many people are offended by these garmets.

Colors That Should be Worn

Blue is a wonderful choice for an interview. The color blue suggests warmth and dependability. Blue is the most common favorite color of all Americans, which will allow a job candidate to connect with the interviewer on a subconscious level. Grey is another fabulous choice for an interview. Gray offers a sense of authority without being as overwhelming as a black. Brown is a tremendous choice for a job interview. The color brown denotes tranquility and similarity offering a sense of belonging. Green is a good color choice as well. Green is a middle of the road color and offer a candidate the ability stand out without being overstated.

A job interviewee should wear punches of color to the interview. Small accent pieces that offer a bit of color are a wonderful choice for an interview. No piece should be overwhelming and bold patterns should be avoided. Color choices depend on the job opening. If the job calls for creativity, more color is allowable as it shows the independent nature of the person being interviewed. A job candidate needs to be aware of the corporate culture of the job that they are interviewing for to make the best possible color choice.

How to Succeed at the Job Interview

Interviews can be intimidating for even the most seasoned professionals. Each company performs interviews differently. However, there are several important guidelines to follow to help you succeed at your next interview.

You should begin preparing for your interview long before you walk into the interview room. First, go online and research the company. You should become familiar with the company’s history, goals and objectives. Also ensure that you are aware of any recent news stories regarding the company. You can use this knowledge to frame the answers to your interview questions. The employer will be impressed if she can tell that you have thoroughly prepared for the interview.

Interviewing is a skill that can be strengthened through practice. Practice answers to the most common interview questions. Ask a friend to interview you and give their honest feedback. It is also helpful to practice in front of a mirror so you can see your posture and facial expressions.

Make sure that you get plenty of rest the night before your interview. Dress professionally in an outfit that gives you confidence. Gather several copies of your resume and recommendations. Place your paperwork neatly in a folder, and take it, along with a notepad and pen, to your interview.

First Moments

First impressions are crucial, so it is important to arrive on time for your interview. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early in case you have traffic problems or other last minute delays. Before you begin the interview, greet the interviewer with eye contact, a smile and a handshake. Listen carefully to the interviewer as he asks the questions. If you are having difficulty answering a question, take a moment to collect your thoughts. Keep calm and remain confident during the interview.

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early in case you have traffic problems or other last minute delays.

At the conclusion of the interview, it is common for the interviewer to ask you if you have any questions. This is a great time to reflect your knowledge of the company by asking a question about one of the current issues the company is facing. You can also ask questions about the job responsibilities of your desired position.

However, never ask questions such as “How much will I make” or “How much vacation will I get?” Rather, ask questions that help showcase your talents, such as “What kinds of technology will I have access to in order to help me do this job well?” or “How does the staff work together to make things run smoothly?”

After the interview, take a few minutes to write a handwritten thank you note. The note should thank the interviewer for his time and let him know why you would be a great fit for the position.

Body Language

Using the correct body language is essential to your success during the interview and beyond. Body language communicates a lot of information about you, no matter what words come out of your mouth. Employers pay attention to how dress and behave during the interview process because they want to get a better sense about you as a person in general. Body language is so important that an employer may decide to hire if you present yourself properly, but they may also decide not to hire if you if you have poor body language. Here are some tips about body language during an interview.

Firm handshake
The first thing you should do is give a firm handshake to the interviewer. A weak handshake will have a poor reflection on you and it may make people see you untrustworthy or unreliable. There is no need to crush the interviewer’s hand, but the handshake should be firm and show that you are alive.

Always offer your right hand when first meeting your interviewer. Keep your wrist solid rather than limp, and shake with your whole hand, not just your fingers. Lean forward and make eye contact. As you’re shaking, say, “It’s nice to meet you,” or “It’s good to see you again.”

Good posture
Good posture will show the interviewer that you are prepared, professional, and confident. Sit straight in the chair and keep your head high as you walk. Do not let the interviewer see you slouched in the chair while you are waiting, so stay on your best behavior even when you think they are not watching. The secretary that you encounter before the interview may even take some notes about you before you even realize it.

No fidgeting
Fidgeting makes you seem nervous and it can show a lack of self-esteem and confidence. Although you probably are nervous during the interview, it is best that you try your best not to show it. Do not tap your feet, play with your hair or nails, or rock in the chair before or during the interview.

Strong eye contact
Always maintain strong eye contact during the entire interview. A lack of eye contact can ruin your interview because it can make you seem untrustworthy. Simply look the interviewer in the eye while they are speaking and nod your head to acknowledge that you are listening to them.

Avoid Slang
No matter how you talk to your friends or co-workers, always use proper English in a job interview. Never say, “what’s up?” or “How’s it going?” when meeting your interviewer. Always say, “It’s nice to meet you.” Avoid vague catch-all terms like “stuff” and “things,” opting instead for specific details.

Smile
Smiling can really help you during the interview because it can make you seem more friendly and likable. There is no need to smile during the entire interview because it could make you seem phony, but you should aim to smile at least once or twice during the interview.

Avoiding Cliches

You might think that your one big downfall is that you’re “too hard of a worker”, but that’s a cop out answer that makes you seem like you’re perfect. That’s not the only job interview cliché that people who hire regularly have the “pleasure” of hearing. There’s a good number of them that they hear. Do you know the worst part about it? Mentioning a bad job cliché can ultimately cause you to end up not getting the job, thus it’s advisable to avoid them altogether. Below are a few ways to avoid job interview cliches.

First and foremost, avoid using passive expressions that qualify what you say. Things like, “I feel…”, “I think…” and “I suppose…” are all terrible cliches that are to be avoided in a job interview. An interview is to decide what you actively known, who you are and how confident you are in your own thoughts and actions. Wishy-washy, weak-willed words will ultimately prove to prevent you from landing the job because your job interviewer won’t find you as capable of making a decision without being babied. They also won’t find you capable of reliably doing your own work to the best of your abilities if you answer with something like that during the heat of an interview.

Your job might be a “challenge”, but don’t say that.

The next thing you need to watch out for is apologetic language. It’s a sign that you think you can’t do the job you’re interviewing for and therefore it’s a reason that you shouldn’t be hired for it. Don’t ever apologize for anything you answer during an interview unless you have a distinct reason to do so. Resist the temptation to start off any responses with, “I only have..”, “I’m afraid that I only have…”, “I don’t have much…” and “I’m not sure I can…” All of these phrases sound wimpy and ultimately this is a cliché that outs more people from jobs than you might first imagine.

The last and most important thing is to not fall for responding with antique words. Your job might be a “challenge”, but don’t say that. Respond to your interviewer as to exactly why you want this job so much. Is it because you actively enjoy the intellectual work involved? Do you enjoy the thrill of getting your teeth into a challenge that’s meaty and takes some serious endurance to complete? Do you just love the idea of being able to be in charge of developing something that will result in billions of dollars in profit for your potential employer? Say it. Don’t give “I enjoy a challenge.” as your answer to “Why do you want to work here?” Save that for everyone else your interviewer isn’t going to hire.

The main point in avoiding cliches is to remain confident of yourself. Don’t fall back and think on your feet while you’re answering your interviewer’s questions. That simple ability to be able to answer with something witty and charming is a skill employers love because it represents that fact that you’re likely always thinking about something within that brain of yours.

What Do Recruiters Look For?

Recruiters will look for several behaviors during the interview process. Each recruiter is different but if you realize the following behaviors, your chances are better at getting noticed.

Assertiveness
This attribute wins job offers. Assertiveness is a good balance between self-assurance and cockiness. Your goal as an assertive candidate is to draw others to you and your thoughts or words. When you come across as an assertive person, that means that you’re confident in who you are as a professional.

Experience
Recruiters like to hear responses that are focused on results. Gear your responses to the end result. This will make you more appealing.

Versatility
Candidates that are adaptable and versatile are more apt to succeed in an organization and recruiters know this.

Most Common Job Interview Questions

The interview is one of the most difficult parts of obtaining a job. It is important to be properly dressed for the occasion as well as have answers to questions that impress the potential employer.

Preparedness is the key to staying calm, cool and collected during the process. That is why it helps to know some of the questions that you might be faced with prior to going to the interview.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

There are variations of this questions and can include a series of like questions. Where do you see yourself in six months, one year and five years are all common questions. The potential employee wants to see how determined you are to stay with the company prior to hiring. They want to hire people who are willing to stay around for the long haul. Think about these questions prior to the interview so that you know exactly what you want to be doing in five years. You will be able to answer the question without hesitation which gives you the upper hand.

Why did you leave your last position?

It is important to remember what you put on your application so that the interview answer matches the application answer. Be as honest as possible when answering this question. Do not include things such as the fact that you did not get along with or agree with your last employer. Keep it as upbeat as possible and remember that the employer may have already checked references for the previous job.

What were your greatest strengths and weaknesses in your job?

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in their work. It is only natural. Be honest when answering this question. Be careful to not accentuate the negative too much. Weaknesses are anything that was more difficult than anything else in your prior position.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

This is one of the most difficult questions. There is no way to know what qualifications the other candidates have so you cannot compare yourself to others. That is not why the interviewer is asking the question. He or she wants to know what you think makes you the best match for the company. The question must be answered from your viewpoint as to what makes you the best candidate. For instance, your qualifications mixed with your personality can make the difference in whether you land the job. You have all the basic qualifications, but what sets you apart from anyone else for the job?

Preparing for a job interview usually causes a nervous reaction. Ease the worry by preparing the answers to the most commonly asked and difficult questions. This will allow you to answer the question without hesitation. That gives you a better chance at impressing the potential employer.

Think Before You Answer

When entering an interview for a job position, it is best to remember that the interview is exclusively an assessment of the applicant. The interviewer is looking for much more than just responses that show a familiarity or mastery of the skills listed on a resume and is also looking for a personality and manner that will work well in the given position. For social jobs like customer service or sales, some employers are searching for a person who can clearly express concepts without using a large amount of jargon. In technical positions or jobs where an employee is part of an integrated team, the employer might be looking for a person who seems to share the common personality of the company.

Be as honest as possible when answering the questions.

When an employer asks a question, the applicant should take some time to consider the response for both content and for the exact wording. Responses to questions should always remain positive and should, at least in some subtle way, highlight the skills of the interviewee. Overly negative responses tend to leave employers with the idea that the applicant might be sarcastic, excessively critical, or potentially an unnecessary weight that could bog down existing processes. At the same time, overly positive responses might give the impression that an applicant is overlooking important facts.

Even if the content of a response to an interview question is correct, the way that it is worded can have a large difference. This is where thinking before speaking is vital. Using a professional vocabulary is important. Unacceptable slang and curse words should be strictly avoided. If an employer is shocked by the words and expressions that are used to answer interview questions, then they will question the competency of the applicant to make sound and professional decisions on the job when alone. In the same way, references to controversial topics, religion, and politics should be avoided not just to keep the interview professional, but also to avoid any legal problems that might arise from the comments.

Even though an applicant needs to think about what is being said before speaking, comments and answers should still be expressed in a relaxed way. This is because answers that are overly thought out or rehearsed will come across as disingenuous. The best way to balance a natural answer with one that is well thought out is to relax during the interview, be as honest as possible, and to always consider what the interviewer is hearing and how it can be interpreted later.

Skype Interview

If the applicant lives close by, they might ask the prospective employee to come in and talk to a panel of people with a set of questions. They usually ask every applicant the same things. The interview will be about an hour long. If the prospective employee can not come to the interview, many companies are doing the interview via Skype.

It is a good way for everyone to see each other on the camera and not have to travel in order to have an interview. When skyping, it is a good idea to have a clear camera in a quiet room. Check it all out before the actual skype call. The microphone needs to be loud enough so everyone can understand each thing that is said.

This is a great way for the final interview to happen. Most people like to see the applicant in person. More and more companies are using this helpful way to complete the interview process. It is necessary to have a web cam to do this and if one is not available, it is a good idea to borrow one. Remember, the job market is competitive at this point and people are using cutting edge techniques to complete the process. Skyping is now an important part of the job search market.

What to Consider Before Accepting a New Job

In an economy where jobs are scarce it is common for job-seekers to settle for less than they intended. Many reconcile themselves to the fact that a job is a job; as long as the paychecks come, it is of little matter whether or not they feel fulfilled. This type of thinking often has disastrous consequences in the long run.

Before you accept a job interview it is wise to consider the implications of being hired by the company to which you have applied. Many job-seekers settle for the first offer that comes along and ends up stuck in an undesirable position out of desperation. Others accept and quit jobs at random, earning themselves a reputation of irresponsibility.

Ask yourself the following questions before submitting your resume or accepting a job interview.

Is This Where I Want to be?

Accepting a new job is not a lifelong commitment; however, most employers will expect you to remain with the company for at least five years. Determine whether the salary, perks and benefits are likely to sustain you during this period of time. Try to get a feel for the work you will be doing and decide whether it is something you will enjoy. Accepting an interim job and leaving it soon after may cause damage to both your resume and your reputation.

Are You Satisfied with your Salary?

Landing your dream job holds little benefit if the salary does not cover your bills. Research your job duties and anticipated salary before agreeing to a job interview. Does the salary you will be offered fall in line with what others in your field earn? What is the potential for advancement? Although salary may not be the single determining factor when choosing a new job it is certainly one of the most important.

Am I Settling?

When jobs are scarce there is a tendency to accept the first offer that comes along. Avoid this trap by submitting your resume only to companies you find attractive. When every choice is desirable, settling for something less is not a concern.

Do you want this job or are you simply looking for a paycheck?

Before you accept a job interview, think about it. Is it a job or a career? Is the salary in line with the duties you are expected to perform? Do you want this job or are you simply looking for a paycheck? Don’t waste your time or the interviewer’s by interviewing for a job that will not ultimately satisfy your needs.