Back in February, we wrote a blog post called “6 Job Interview Tips for Success,” which outlined a few specific ways job hunters can improve their professional presence and make a standout impression at a job interview.
Here is our second installment of the series, with six more tips for success.
1. Clean up your online presence.
Before you even get to the job interview stage in the application process, check to make sure you are ready to be evaluated by your social media presence. Search your name and see what pages come up. Do you have an updated LinkedIn profile? Does your Facebook account have strict privacy settings for all content (including photos)? Is your Twitter account work-appropriate? What about your blog, your Flickr account or any other online profile you have? Not every employer will look you up online, but many will, and you want to prepare an appropriate professional presence.
2. Be on time… or better yet, early.
If you rush into a job interview 10 minutes late with excuses about traffic on the bridge or a last-minute personal crisis, you will make a lasting impression, just not a positive one. This is one of the easiest job interview tips to perform successfully. Give yourself a large cushion of extra time to allow for any unexpected circumstances in transit — a flat tire, a late bus or a bad sense of direction. It is much better to arrive a few minutes early to the interview; take a walk around the block calming your nerves or spend some time going over your notes.
3. Watch your language.
Interviewers are evaluating your professional presence and how well you conduct yourself in a business setting, so many job interview tips focus on how to improve your communication skills. Choose your words carefully and avoid using language that is too casual or unprofessional. Take your time with responses and questions, slowing down your normal speech if you have a tendency to talk quickly and use “filler” words such as “um,” “like,” and “you know.” Remember that you aren’t talking to a friend; you are talking to a potential employer, so be more formal and cautious in what you say than you normally would.
4. Give examples.
Job candidates who speak in cliches and generalities are not memorable. You want to stand out from the crowd, so be specific and give concrete examples in response to questions. For example, if the interviewer asks about your project management skills, tell her about the time in your previous position when you organized a national conference over the course of a year.
5. Be direct and concise.
In short, answer the question the interviewer asks you as clearly and succinctly as possible. Don’t go off on a tangent or try to tell an unrelated story to avoid a question you don’t know how to answer. If you don’t have a skill the interviewer is asking about or you have to answer an uncomfortable question (such as getting fired from a previous job), be honest. Say you don’t have that particular skill yet but you have other related skills that will help you learn quickly, or explain that you weren’t the right fit for that particular company (without badmouthing your former boss).
6. Be gracious.
Act excited about the job you are interviewing for and appreciative for the opportunity. Interviewers want to know that you want the job and will be engaged in it if you are hired. Being too nonchalant about the position can hurt your chances.
What are the best job interview tips you’ve heard?
Get more information about EDSI’s Professional Presence in a Casual World course.