Posts Tagged ‘job interview tips’
The competition for jobs for post-grad students is often very stiff. The influx of fresh faces in the market with a limited number of positions available can make it challenging to get a relevant position right off the hop. Using Informational Interviews as a tool for giving yourself an advantage over your peers is time well spent.
What exactly is an Informational Interview?
An Informational Interview is a business appointment you will make with prospective employers within your industry where you can gather information about the real-world circumstances of your field of interest. Generally during this type of meeting, there is no job position being discussed. This gives both you and the employer the benefit of not being under any stress and the advantage of possibly asking questions that you would not typically ask during a job interview. You are free to ask about salaries, vacation and benefits. You may also get to speak with others who are currently employed in your desired position and get a good sense of what the daily duties of the job really are.
Often we find that the real-life experience of working in the field is far different than the one we have pictured in our minds. The Informational Interview will help to clarify the expectations that employers will have of you when you begin working in your industry.
Conducting an Informational Interview
If you have made your intent well known when you have set up the appointment, you will be meeting with a pleasant and helpful worker who can give you a tour of the business and introduce you to various employees that you will be interested in speaking to.
Remember that this interview is being conducted during the normal hours of business so you should expect to spend a bit of time waiting in lobbies or waiting rooms for employees to clear up some time in their schedule to chat with you.
Dress for the Informational Interview as you would if you were working in their office. You do not want to dress too casually or overdress for the meeting. You need to look like you belong there so do a bit of research ahead of time to discover what their dress-code is. Generally speaking, dressing in business casual attire is fairly safe.
Know the name of the person you will be meeting with and make sure you know the proper pronunciation of their name. Do a bit of research on the company ahead of time so you have a good understanding of what products they sell or what services they provide.
Prepare a list of questions you wish to ask ahead of time. You will have different questions for the various people you may talk to during the appointment. Your questions to the employees will be different than the questions you may have for supervisors.
You want to spend as much time as possible during the interview engaging people in relevant conversation. Don’t spend a lot of your time writing during the interview. Instead, make notes as soon as possible after the conclusion of the meeting while everything is still fresh in your memory.
Following up after the Informational Interview
After the interview, follow up with a thank you note addressed to the person who gave you the tour of the company as well as the original contact person. Thank them for the positive experience and for the insight it has given you. At this time, you may wish to submit your resume for their consideration should a position within their company arise.
If you have made a positive, lasting impression during your informational interview, they will put your resume at the top of their list of people to call when a position is available. This gives you a very definite advantage over any other applications they may receive as they can already visualize you in the position because they can put a face to the resume.
If you are newly entering the employment market within your field, you should consider doing a series of informational interviews with companies that interest you. An informational interview is different than a job interview in that you are not interviewing for a specific position. The goal is to establish a contact and to discover whether you are truly interested in working for that specific company.
Many job seekers consider informational interviews to be a waste of their time because you spend a great deal of time waiting around in lobbies and only speaking to people for a few moments at a time when the company may not even have any job postings available. The smart job seeker will understand the importance of making a face-to-face impression on a potential employer. When a position within the company arises, you will have an advantage over all of the other resumes the company receives in that they will already be able to put a face to the piece of paper.
Giving yourself an edge in today’s job search market is becoming more and more important with the increase in the number of applications that every employer is receiving. Competition for every job posting is at an all-time high. You want to be the first person they will call when an job opening does present itself.
If you have left a positive impression with the company during your informational interview, they may not even post the position. They will remember you and will call you for an interview before opening it to the general public.
Often what starts off as an informational interview will turn into a job interview so be prepared. Make sure you have your resume and a list of references with you and are ready to answer any questions they may ask you.
Preparing for a job interview
Job interviews can be a scary but rewarding experience, no matter the outcome. Going into it, there are many things you need to remind yourself of, bring, and do when you’re speaking with the employer. Job interview coaching can correct your performance and your presentation skills, but really effective job interview coaching will address the content of the interviews, as well.
Dress appropriatly for the occasion. When you drop off a resume it is a good idea to make note of the attire other staff members are wearing. You want your employer to see you fitting in within the organization. Keep conservatively within the dress code of the company. This is not the time to be flashy or seductive. You want to be remembered for your abilities, not your cleavage. Wear something that both makes you feel confident and comfortable. Looking great is no good if you are fidgeting with an uncomfortable outfit.
Prospective employers want to see people who think on their toes and are interested in the position as much as possible. Write out a few quick questions that you can ask at the appropriate time of the interview so that you are not trying to think on the spot of what to ask. Employers don’t want to know why you can’t do the job, they are concerned most with what you can do for them. Focus on your ability to tackle new situations, your communication skills, interpersonal abilities, analytical thinking talents, and other skills developed while in college or experience from previous positions.
Preparation is the key to success. Preparing for the interview enhances the quality of your interaction skill. It helps you to empower yourself with confidence in your own abilities.
Research the company beforehand so that you can showcase that knowledge during the interview. This will boost your credibility with the interviewer and will help you to formulate intelligent questions to ask him or her. Research an opportunity as much as possible. Seek out company/officer profiles, news clips, past and present company projects, current issues and events relating to an agency’s specialty. Research about the company’s background, the work you are applying for and the work environment and ponder about these matters. Stereotypical questions must be answered intelligently and with conviction.