Interview Merit Badge

By Donnelly

You got the interview! Great job! You’re one step closer to getting rejected…er, the job! Honestly, let’s cut to the chase, and hopefully get you a position. That’s what we’re here for, right? Follow the six guidelines below and you’ll have a much better chance of not being disappointed after spending all the time to interview.

Get to know the employer

This sounds simple, but so many people hear about a job, get the interview, and then ruin everything by winging it. Welcome to huge mistake number one. If you go to a job interview with a company you know nothing about and hope that they won’t figure that out, you’re sadly mistaken. Be prepared to walk in and get the question, “What do you know about us?” Impress them from this first question. Tell them things about the company that they might not even know. Get them interested in you for the pure fact that you’re prepared and excited about them. Please be prepared.

Job description

Do you know it by heart? Welcome to huge mistake number two.  Don’t go in to an interview without knowing what job you’re applying for. Again, this shouldn’t be rocket surgery. It’s not about being able to regurgitate the job description back to them, it’s about knowing that you’re qualified for the position. Did you read the requirements and say to yourself, “I can’t do X and Y?” Then, did you tell the recruiter that you can do X and Y (please say that you didn’t do this…)?

Trust us, we want you to get a job, but make sure that you’re A. Qualified and B. Telling us the truth about those qualifications. It behooves you to be truthful to us, the people you interview with, and honestly, yourself.  Seriously, be prepared.

What are you wearing?

Did you ask what you’re supposed to wear? Welcome to huge mistake number three. Do they want you to come in a three-piece or jeans? Are you going to look awkward if you don’t come in with a polo on? This isn’t one of the hardest things in the world, it’s almost always better to come in more dressed up than you need to be, but if you walk in to an interview in jeans and a t-shirt and are surrounded by suits, you’re not getting the job. Period.

Look in the mirror.

Look good.

Go to the interview.

Are you prepared, yet?

What are they going to ask you?

Have you prepared for all of the normal questions that are asked on interviews? (Best working quality, worst working quality, three words that describe you, a conflict at work that you helped fix, etc.) Welcome to huge mistake number four. Freezing up during an interview can be the end of your chances, pay attention and don’t be dumb.

Don’t give canned answers.

Don’t be vague.

Don’t lie.

Actually, you should probably just live your life like this. Write that down. Repeat it back to yourself if need be. Seriously, are you prepared?

What are you going to ask them?

Do you have questions to ask them? Welcome to huge mistake number five. If at the end of the interview the person hiring says, “do you have any questions for me/us?” would you rather be the person who asks what everyone on the planet asks, or would you like the interviewer to think you’re a brilliant, thoughtful, intuitive (not to mention, attractive) candidate? Don’t answer that, just do it.
How are you not prepared at this point?

Thank everyone

After you’ve left your perfectly executed interview, did you remember to get the contact information for the people you met with? Welcome to huge mistake number six. Do not leave the interview without contact information.  I’ve heard from more than one person that they’ve heard that someone didn’t blow them away in an interview, but their follow-up email pushed them over the top and they got the job. You’re prepared, right?

In closing…

Please, please, please, be prepared…

This isn’t so much to ask. Know the company, know the job, wear something respectable, answer their questions, ask good questions, be polite, and rock the job interview. Now that all of that’s said, don’t get discouraged if you still don’t get the job. It’s a rough market. But, as someone here at the office states, “Everyone gets a job eventually…everyone.”
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but… be prepared. Please. With sugar on top.