"What would you say is your top two personality traits that makes you fit for this job?"
Well, I’m extremely ambitious and goal-oriented. As you can see, I haven’t even begun my senior year of college yet, and I’m already applying for positions that I am interested in at companies I want to work for in the future. I set goals for myself in order to plan ahead, be as prepared as possible, challenge myself daily, and gain satisfaction with myself when I eventually achieve those goals. I have set my goal to work for your company, so instead of me waiting for the spring to tell you that I am interested in YOU, I wanted to tell you now.
THAT is true. I did a few job interviews this past week with a few companies I am interested in working for after I graduate. How did I get these interviews you may ask?
Well, I applied. Wishful thinking on my part, I guess. I probably got somewhere around 10 interview offers from my fantasy job hunting expedition on Sunday. I only answered three.
Why three, Olia?
Not to sound cocky, but I know what I want to do, and it’s not selling insurance, or senior living facilities. (No offense to anyone who does that, or if that’s your dream job. It’s just not for me.)
So from on college kid to anyone searching for a job right now, let’s talk about that ugly thing you don’t want to face: YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Seriously y’all, this is important. We’re going to talk about some interviewing skills and tips:
1. Show up on time.
On time is not when the interview starts. On time is 15 minutes before the interview starts. You want to appear to be prompt and ready. You’ll be waiting, yes, but it makes you look like you want that job. While you’re sitting waiting for someone to call your name like your at the doctor’s office, relax (but not too much). Sit with good posture, don’t be fiddling with your cell phone, maybe have a newspaper, or a notepad. I like having a notepad so I can go over my notes before an interview. Also, ladies, don’t cross your legs, especially if you’re wearing a skirt, cross your ankles instead.
2. Wear a suit (unless they tell you not to).
Both interviews I went to explicitly told me while scheduling my interview to dress in business professional. I was taught by etiquette coaches and my business school advisors, that business professional meant a suit. Also, my father, a business professional for the past 20 years, told me to ALWAYS wear a suit to an interview, unless you’re told not to.
When I interviewed for Live Nation Entertainment, I wore a suit. They wear jeans in the office everyday… and I wore a suit to my interview. ALWAYS WEAR A SUIT TO AN INTERVIEW. I cannot say this enough.
Y’all, I’ve got to be real with you. I was the ONLY one at both interviews wearing a suit. If you don’t look nicer than the person who is interviewing you, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t want to sit here and toot my own horn, but everyone else needed to step their game up compared to me in dress yesterday. One girl, quite largely chested was wearing a dress that completely exposed WAY too much cleavage. UNACCEPTABLE. If I had been interviewing her, I would have been way to distracted in what she was saying.
Here is a great graphic on the difference between business PROFESSIONAL and business CASUAL:
3. Be well groomed.
This is also explained in the graphic above a bit, but I wanted to say it again. Guys, shave your face. You should be clean-shaven, have styled your hair in some manner, and obviously, not smell of your morning workout. Ladies, shave your legs, style your hair out of your face, and don’t wear too much make-up. Look natural, cool, calm, and collected.
4. Have extra copies of your resume.
This is a simple one. They ask you to bring a copy of your resume, bring two. They ask you to bring two copies, bring three. You never know when you may need it.
5. Give them your business card.
Simply, it looks good to have a business card, even if it’s one that you made yourself on your printer at home with business card stock. You don’t have to be some crazy awesome graphic designer to make a professional looking business card.
Personally, my business card, resume, and website all use the same fonts, colors, and contact information. It matches, goes together, and makes me just a little more memorable than other candidates. This is how I represent myself and my brand.
Give it to them on your way out, when you’re shaking their hand good-bye and you’re thanking them for calling you into the interview. It’s a nice gesture and it leaves them with a memento from you.
6. Smile and have good eye contact.
Don’t be a creeper, but be sociable. The companies I was interviewing with are both extremely passionate about relationship-based marketing. So I knew that wanted to see someone who is or potentially could be great at quickly building a relationship with another person.
As Tyra Banks likes to say, SMIZE. It’s really easy actually, if you can wiggle your ears, you can definitely smize. It makes you look interested and happy to be there without creeping out the interviewer.
7. Give a firm handshake.
Research shows that a firm handshake is the KEY to interview success.
"…we found that the first impression begins with a handshake that sets the tone for the rest of the interview."
"Students with ‘wimpy’ shakes were judged to be more timid and less impressive."
"…students who scored high with handshake raters were also considered to be the most hirable by the interviewers."
Source: DailyMail News
8. Don’t be afraid to laugh.
Again, don’t be creepy about it. A giggle here and there (when appropriate) makes you seem personable. Don’t fake it either. If they try to make a joke, and you don’t think it’s really that funny, just smile. It’s much easier to fake a smile than fake a laugh.
9. Send a thank you note or email.
This is something that has been lost on our generation. It’s polite, and it puts you back in their minds after the interview. Here’s a great example of a thank-you note, and trust me, if you’re not writing one, you can bet someone else who interviewed for the same position sure as hell did.
10. Connect on LinkedIn.
This is a tricky one. You can do a few different things here. You should always follow the company on LinkedIn, but you could also send an connection invitation to the interviewer as well. I would wait a few days before the invitation is sent, but you should follow the business itself on LinkedIn before your interview as part of your pre-interview research.
11. Do pre-interview research on the company.
The least you can do is look at their website, but like I said before, you can follow the company on LinkedIn, as well as Facebook and Twitter too. For me, being a social media marketer, I want to know how many followers they have and what kind of content do they post. All of this research is extremely valuable to your interview. Both of my interviewers for my 2 interviews yesterday asked me if I looked at their website. I told them yes, and was able to quote some of the eye-catching information I read. This just shows that you come prepared and are enthusiastic about that company.
Okay lovely people, I hope this helps. I’ve had pretty good success with interviewing in the past. Both companies asked me back for a second-round of interviews, knowing that I’m not looking for full-time employment until next year.