Your job hunt has resulted in a scheduled interview. Now what? Local career experts say the old rules still apply: be prepared, be on time and look professional.
“I’ve never heard of an employer not hiring someone because they were dressed too professionally,” said Christine Yancey, coordinator of community engagement at Sinclair Community College. “You can tank your chances if you don’t dress appropriately. I encourage erring on the side of conservative.”
She suggests clothes that are not too revealing, too tight or too loose and said applicants should cover tattoos and not wear flashy jewelry or strong fragrances.
Arrive 10 minutes early, always smile, make good eye contact and don’t fidget, Yancey said.
Research the company in advance and the person who will be interviewing you and make sure you know the job description so you don’t look like you haven’t bothered to learn about the company or the job, she said.
The interview may be in person or online, and it may involve one or more people.
Practice in advance and make sure you have the technology down pat if the interview is virtual.
“I give this advice to job seekers: when you are interviewing you have to convince someone on the other side of the table or the other side of the Zoom camera that you would like to work at that organization,” said Jason Eckert, executive director of career services at the University of Dayton.
“During the course of the interview you have to express that love, so to speak, for what they are offering even if you yourself are still figuring it out,” he said.
Be prepared for questions that may trip you up, such as “what is your greatest weakness?”
Yancey said be genuine in your answer to questions like that and focus on what you did and are doing to improve.
She said wait for the interviewer to bring up salary. Know what range works for you and research in advance what the job pays in your area. If asked what you want to be paid, consider first asking the interviewer what the pay range is for the job.
Eckert and Yancey said the key throughout the application and interview process is to stand out from the competition.
“It is not enough to tell the employer what you did but you have to tell them tell them how well you did it,” Yancey said. “You are putting it into perspective for employers that you made impacts and contributions that will resonate with that employer.”