How to have a great job interview

A great job interviewinterview

Now that you’re out there looking, you’re probably wondering how to have a great job interview. Even though you may have had dozens of interviews, its good to get back to the basics of interviewing. You are meeting new people with every interview and for this reason you need to prepare for each one. Furthermore, each company will look for something different and you need to be ready for any question.

Also, if you are an older person who hasn’t interviewed in a while, you must consider that things have changed in the business world.

Following are some tips to prepare for the interview so you can showcase yourself and have a great job interview!

microscopeResearch the company where you will interview

Most companies have a website where you can glean a wealth of information prior to your meeting. You will particularly want to know about their products and services. Furthermore, learning their business mission is important. Additionally, when interviewing, it helps to volunteer relevant information you know about the company even though you are not asked.

Find out what the culture of the company is ahead of time if you can find it. That is to say, what is the social atmosphere? Is it casual? What is the dress code? Is management hands-on or are you more independent? Again, information about company culture may be hard to find prior to your interview. However, if you know someone that has worked for the company, make sure to ask them.

Here is one further tip for a great job interview. Try to find out if you will be interviewed by one person or a panel of two or more. The answer to this may have an effect how you prepare.

Practice and prepare

You know the old saying “Practice makes perfect.” Indeed, it applies just as much in an interview as it does anywhere. You can actually think of the interview as a performance. A good performer knows their lines. So, try to anticipate questions that will be asked and how you will answer them. Say your answers out loud since you will be speaking in the interview. These are effective interviewing skill practices.

Don’t do everything at the last minute before you leave for the interview. Specifically, have your resume ready-to-go, your clothing pressed and firm directions.

Also, bring extra copies of your resume as well as references. Always carry a pen and paper to take notes.

Dress for success

outlandish suit
Maybe not quite this much

I believe that it’s better to overdress for an interview than to under dress. That is to say, even if you suspect the office atmosphere may be pretty casual, consider wearing something that makes you look professional. Jacket and tie for the guys. Ladies, you already know what to wear. Make sure everything is pressed and fresh. Additionally, It’s probably best to keep the jewelry and accessories to a minimum.

Be on time

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the building 10- 15 minutes ahead of time. Use GoogleMaps or MapQuest if you don’t know where you’re going. As an extra precaution, you might even drive to the interview location prior to your meeting. You want to have time to check for the suite number and take the elevator, if necessary. Also, you may want to find the restroom to give yourself one last look in the mirror!

Develop a connection/rapport with the interviewer

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with very brief small-talk at the beginning of the interview. For example, you might notice a picture or diploma on the wall and make a short positive comment about it. But, keep it short because you mean business! First impressions count. I believe that sales (and you are selling yourself) is most effective when a rapport or connection is made. Additionally, know the interviewer’s name because people like it when others remember. Perhaps you can even pepper it in there a couple times during the interview.

Stay calm

Yes, this is easier said than done but you can do things to help alleviate nervousness. For example, give yourself some extra time before the interview to deep breathe and meditate. The result of this will be calmer nerves and increased focus. While you are in the interview, listening carefully to the interviewer helps take the focus off yourself. This goes a long way towards calming nerves. Also, the more prepared you are the less nervous you will be.

body languageBe aware of body Language

Are you sitting straight up? How about that smile? Equally important is good eye contact. And, here’s my pet peeve – crossed arms. Indeed, you see people do this all the time while having conversations. The consequence of this is that the interviewer may get the impression that you are defensive. In addition, watch the fidgeting in the chair. Remember, body language says a lot about you!

Show enthusiasm

Give a good firm handshake (no wimpy handshakes please!) and look the interviewer in the eye. Speak confidently and distinctly. When the interviewer says something about the job or the company, convey interest by asking questions. At the same time, always be truthful and authentic. This goes a long way toward a great job interview.

Ask questions

Studies show that an employer judges an applicant’s interest in the job by whether they ask questions. Furthermore, asking questions shows that you have done your homework about the company. Asking questions also indicates you have curiosity and a willingness to learn. Again, pre-interview preparation is essential so you can come with the right questions for a great job interview.

Listendog and can

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that people want to be heard. Even if they are in a position of power. Most of us spend way too much time talking and not enough time listening. Besides, when you listen you learn! If the interviewer makes a statement, sometimes it is useful to paraphrase to let them know you are listening. Always get further clarification if you need it. Also, practice the skill of reading between the lines. Sometimes, what is not said is as important as what is said.

Answer the question asked

Again, this comes from effective listening. When you need to answer, take a moment to do so because you want to avoid the ums and ahs. If you have practiced before the interview, you can make your answers concise and to-the-point without rambling.

Talk about what you have done and what you can do for them

Use specific examples of your experience and how you can apply this to your new position. For example, “I was the project manager for Jones, Inc. and we installed the heating systems in 20 office buildings. This experience can be effectively utilized in the project manager position for which I am applying.” Remember, a company hires you because of what you can bring to the table. When you give strong answers that are relevant to the position, it makes for a great job interview.

Close the deal

As a final point, close the deal. That is to say, make sure to ask about next steps in the hiring process and when you can expect to hear their decision. I would end with something like “I feel I am a good fit for this position and believe I can offer a lot to your company. I look forward to hearing from you.” And make sure to say those two magic words “Thank you!”

Follow up

As a final point, always make sure to send a thank-you note. In it, you might even briefly touch on the conversation points and why you are best for the job. In this day and age, email works fine. However, imagine the interviewer’s surprise if they receive a hand-written thank-you through the mail! In any case, send your thank-you within 24 hours.

In conclusion

Keep these points in mind before, during and after your interview. Remember, if you don’t get the job, it’s not the end-of-the-world. Besides, every interview gives you that much more practice that will propel you to a meaningful career.

However, if you really don’t want to interview but are looking for money-making opportunities, click here.

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Job search tips for the older worker

The Reality

Here are some job search tips that will help you in your quest for meaningful employment. Indeed, the job market for people over 50 can be very challenging. As you know, companies are constantly merging, downsizing and reorganizing and often the first casualties are older workers. Not fair, but a fact. Older workers will usually spend more time in their job search than their younger counterparts. People over 55 can expect to spend an average of 35 weeks while younger people average 26 weeks. However, you’re not average so read these job search tips for the older worker.

Ask questions about yourself

Before you interview or talk to anyone about your job quest, it’s a great idea to take time for self-assessment. After all, the better you know yourself, the more successful you’ll be at talking about yourself and conveying your best attributes in a job interview. I know, I know, you’ve had decades to get to know yourself but this is a great exercise and you may discover things about you, you didn’t even know.

Here are some questions you might ask yourself:question

  • What do I want in a job?
  • Who am I now?
  • What are my values?
  • Do I need to make a lot of money OR do I want to make a difference?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What are my skills?
  • What are my accomplishments?
  • Do I work well with people? What kind of people?
  • What contributions can I make in a job?
  • What makes me unique?
  • What is my experience and how can I use it in the position I am seeking?

There are online assessment tools you can utilize to get maximum benefit from this process.

Be sure to network

Did you know that many jobs aren’t even advertised to the public? As a matter of fact, the scuttlebutt on new positions is often kept in-house or within an industry where people network to find the right fit. I am part of senior networking groups so I know this first hand.  At these meeting, members talk about job openings – mostly marketing positions in retirement communities.networking

It certainly doesn’t hurt to contact friends and former co-workers to glean info about job openings. If you went to college, see if your Alma Mater has a career network you can use. Consider getting a Linked-In account to network online and utilize other social media. Through online research, you can find organizations that are particular onto your industry where you’ll meet others involved in the job search. One way to do this is through “MeetUp.” Find it online and there is one for just about every interest you can think of.

Dust off that resumeResume

How about this for one of your job search tips? Age-proof your resume by limiting your information from a chronological perspective. This helps you avoid the “too old” stigma. Also, only include relevant and more recent positions because there is no need to list every job you’ve had. If you attended college, don’t list the dates. As far as I’m concerned, any kind of dates are irrelevant and you don’t need to bring them up.

Consider that your old resume may no longer be appropriate so some changes may be necessary. There are tools like Resume Builder that can assist you with updating. Make it easier on yourself and use the same general resume for every job at which you interview and tailor it to each position you are seeking. Be sure to emphasize the knowledge you have in your field as well as special talents and skills you have developed. By the way, 80% of recruiters indicated that the summary at the top of the resume was the most important part.

Re-acquaint yourself with the interview process

The interview process remains the same as employers still would like to know the person behind the resume. If you have not had an interview in a while, you may want to brush up on your interview skills. Read articles or even watch YouTube videos on interviewing. Anticipate the questions and have ready answers. In other words, be prepared! Keep in mind that the person on the other side of the desk may not be a good interviewer so put them at ease by being a good interviewee!

Before you interview, compile information on the company

Since it likely has a website, you can do some online research on the company prior to your meeting. Learn more about their products and services and who their customers are. See if you can find reviews. Do you know anyone who works for the company? You can contact them, let them know you would like to interview and perhaps they would impart inside knowledge that could help you secure a position. They might even give you a referral! A CareerXroads survey found that when someone referred a candidate, they had a far better chance of being hired than one who was not.

Practice an interview with an employer not at the top of your list

Perhaps you could start by interviewing with an employer you are less interested in just to get the practice. Not such a big deal here if you are rejected because you don’t have a lot of emotional investment. It can be a great learning experience you can take with you to subsequent, more important interviews.

VolunteerVolunteer

It’s another way to get your foot in the door if you have the time. As a volunteer, your perspective employer will experience your capabilities and work ethic first-hand. Companies hire people after they prove themselves as a volunteer!

More job search tips courtesy of AARP

  • Utilize local staffing agencies. Do a Google search by typing the keywords “staffing agencies” and then your city or town.
  • For US residents, the American Job Center is a great resource and just about every county has one. These connect employees with employers. They host hiring events, workshops and pay for job training.
  • Learn about your local Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). People over 55 who are unemployed and low income have access to this service. This program offers participants new skill building, additional work experience and the opportunity to earn a stipend while seeking employment.
  • Identify in-demand jobs that match your skills and interests and make sure to learn about the companies that are hiring for these jobs.

Sources: AARP, www.flexjobs.com, usnews.com, the authors personal experience.

Conclusion

If you are an older person looking for a job it can be challenging. However, there are many resources available to help make it easier! When you utilize these job search tips you’ll have an advantage. Even more, you might even edge out that Millennial applying for the same job!

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