I recently helped a friend to survive her first job interview: I clearly remember how scared she was. Her family put a lot of pressure on her, trying to make her feel motivated (and obviously, it didn’t work). She also felt kinda “threatened” by her younger sister – which already had a full CV, a nice job, and was already studying for her driving license.
In other words: I was working with a person with no self esteem, who pretended to call the numbers on the job offers section of newspapers just to let her mother know that “she was doing something, but no company ever called her back”. That’s it. Nothing more. Her mother believed these lies for over a year, until she realised that grounding a 21 years old girl was useless, and she called me in tears asking for some help.
Let’s make it clear: no one is gonna hire you with that attitude. Also, if you don’t send your CV’s literally everywhere, how can a company even know that you exist?
This girl has now a part time job that satisfies her needs and gives her some responsability, which is a good start. She also moved to another city to do that (and to get away from the imaginary competition between her and her sister, but that’s another story)! She fixed her CV thanks to her step mother. I sent mine to my friend to take some inspiration from it, and they created a whole new customized resume for her!
I thought that this experience helped both of us. So I think it might be a good idea to write down a post on my blog for everyone else struggling in finding some advice about job interviews. Remember that these are general “rules” and that depending on the job position you apply for and the country you live in, some changes may occur.
Get ready to print your curriculum vitae. And when they call you back, just a few friendly reminders…
- FIRST IMPRESSION IS EVERYTHING – and it starts from the phone call or email. When a company calls you for a job interview, remember to sound already active, happy and confident. Be immediately available for them when they ask you to come over for a proper interview. Say thank you, be polite.
- YOUR LOOK IS YOUR BUSINESS CARD – you think a shower is enough? Not at all! Shave your face. If you wear a long beard, groom it and trim it. If you’re a woman, wear some basic make up. In any case, moisturize your skin, dress smart, don’t look baggy or provocative. Look good, smell good. Clean your glasses, wash your hair and teeth! (You should do this one everyday, job interview or not, but specifying never hurts…)
- SHAKING HANDS CAN SAY A LOT – okay, you probably heard this too many times. But it’s true. Work on your hand shake. Let it transmit your energy.
- SMILE – also a classic. There are a few tricks that make people feel comfortable around a stranger, and one of these is as simple as it seems: place a nice smile here and there, especially when your shaking hands and making eye contact with your future boss. Of course, if he/she’s talking about something bad like the awful accident that your predecessor had, do not smile… 😛
- LOOK CONFIDENT, BUT BE YOURSELF – you want to look efficient and ready for the position, but nobody likes a “I-know-everything” kind of person. You don’t understand something? Ask away, before the interview ends. Asking a few appropriate questions will aslo show that your interest in working with this company is genuine.
When asked to talk about yourself, make yourself appear interesting – but be honest. You’re gonna spend a lot of time with this people, the truth will eventually come out. Got any special skills, like a very good knowledge of computers, or speaking two languages? Point it out. Saying something like “I am used to teamwork” and “I’m a quick learner” are also good choices.
About money. I didn’t put this in the list because on this point there is a little controversy. I am perfectly comfortable in talking about money, but many others do not think in the same way.
I never bumped into actual problems when asking about my salary, but I noticed that some people tend to dislike this question (maybe they think it will make you look greedy), while some other told me about my $ per hour spontaneously. I literally didn’t even have to ask.
I will leave this to you, maybe you can just wait and when talking about working hours per week you can ask, if your employer didn’t already mention anything about it.
Now you’re ready! You can practice your charming charisma with your partner, your friends and family, and even on your own – you just need a mirror! 😀
Don’t expect every job interview to be identical to the previous one.
Every employer has different ways to interact, but don’t panic! Remember that if someone is willing to hire, it’s because they need help (as much as you need a job!), so don’t feel like you’re asking for a favor – it’s mutual!
Also, don’t feel bad if your first interviews are not successful. One of my best friends has been ignored for over two years from a company, and after sending them his resume multiple times not only he finally got hired! It also opened him a door leading to bigger opportunities – he travelled the world, lives in New Zealand and you can spot his name in the credits at the end of movies like Valerian or videogames like Until Dawn.
Never give up!