Whether it is your first job interview fresh out of college or the umpteenth one in your career, job interviews can get the wimp out of the best of us. Although the job market looks brighter, you still need to rise above the competition, which, depending on your market niche and a variety of other factors, can be fierce.
Before you start shaking in your men’s leather lace-up shoes or women’s low-heel pumps, don’t panic. In its simplest terms, a traditional job interview is a meet-and-greet session.
“An interview to determine whether an applicant is suitable for a position of employment” is vocabulary.com’s definition of an employment/job interview.
Call it what you will, but the goal of a successful interview is to land a good-paying job to gain financial independence, which, like it or not, is the backbone of life; clearly our survival—food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc.—depends on it!
Likely, too, you will devote a good portion of your life to work. To be exact, various sources have calculated that an average American will spend 10.3 years in a lifetime working—a tad over a decade. A decade!
Put in these terms, a job interview can make or break you, and it’s important to knock off the wimpy thinking, and, instead, knock it out of the ballpark with a knock ‘em dead job interview. The following 10 tips can help you hit a home run.
1. Granted, a job interview can open a door to some fairly impressive future happenings. But understand that a job interview is only a path to a door that may be better kept shut. If it turns out you don’t get the job, think positive; tell your inner wimp, “A better job is on the horizon.” Accept what is, and move on. It’s not the end of the world. Either way, you will be alright; unless, of course, YOU are not alright. You cannot, repeat, cannot, expect any job to save or make your life; or break it for that matter. Penelope Trunk, founder of four startups says it best: “People do not like work because they don’t like their personal life. And the key to being happy at work is not so much finding the perfect career as it is finding yourself.” Seek counseling if you can’t wrap your head around this concept, the problem may be far greater than a declaration of wimp-hood.
2. Dress the part. Duh! When in doubt, err on the conservative side.
3. Don’t arrive empty-handed. Business Insider advises not to leave home without five essential things.
4. You lost your shoe on the subway ride; you lost the car keys…no matter what the excuse, even a legitimate one, need we discuss the potential disastrous impact for being late for a job interview? While clockwatching, how early is too early to arrive?
5. Instead of allowing that nerve-racking inner wimp take charge, take control of the things you CAN control. Preplanning is a no-brainer! For instance, prepare everything you need the night before the interview: wardrobe, car keys, eye glasses, briefcase, directions, etc.
6. While on the topic of being in control, prior to the job interview, do your research about the business. When you do your homework well, you can illustrate what a perfect, or close to perfect, fit you would be at the company. Putting in the extra effort edges out the competition. In addition, investing your personal time this way shows the interviewer that you are serious and sincerely desire the position. Whether you get the job or not, if you accomplish this step thoroughly, award yourself a gold star for effort, you deserve it.
7. While on the subject of homework, prep yourself. You don’t want to fall into the abyss of silent wimp-hood when you hear something as innocuous as “Why should we hire you?” Typical job interview questions are plastered all over the internet.
8. Whether on paper or in your mind, have a list of questions to ask about the position; in this instance, curiosity never kills the cat, but can help cement a pretty purr-fect impression.
9. You know the adage about practice and perfection. You can do the tried-and-true stand-in-front-of-the-mirror-and-rehearse technique, enlist a friend to help you with a mock interview or search online for software programs that can help. No matter how you do it, just do it!
10. Keep it positive, never bad mouth a former boss or position, appear professional and enthusiastic and smile, and never mention salary requirements—or should you? A quick prayer (help!) never hurts; whatever you do, just know what you are worth before you walk into the room, and here’s a hint: nothing, not even a billion-dollar salary, can define your value, that sole role goes to you!