How to overcome job interview jitters
Feature Article- Thu., Mar. 24, 2011
High school and college graduations are just around the corner, and for many graduates, that means – gulp – it’s time to start pounding the pavement with fellow job-seekers.
However, a new poll of young adults conducted by Everest College reveals the job interview itself poses a major challenge for those seeking a new position. Four in 10 respondents (40 percent) said interviewing is the one skill they need to improve most to land a job, and nearly half (45 percent) think speaking skills are one of the most important attributes hiring managers use to judge potential candidates.
“In today’s tough economy, the job interview is particularly important for those just starting their careers, and often means the difference between landing a job or going home empty-handed,” says Sean Quinn, regional vice president of operations for Everest College, a leading provider of career-oriented diploma programs in health care, skilled trades and accounting.
Quinn and Everest College offer the following tips to ensure that an interview opportunity ends with a job offer:
Practice makes perfect
According to Everest’s survey, nearly three of 10 (28 percent) named, “What is your worst quality?” the most difficult interview question to answer. Other tough questions were, “Where would you like to see yourself professionally in five years?” (20 percent) and, “What is your salary requirement?” (19 percent).
Practice answers to these, as well as other common inquiries, including “Tell me about yourself” and, “What skills and experiences do you bring?” Think of actual examples and prepare mini-sound bites to describe your skills.
Although the interview is a great time to sell yourself to a potential employer, be careful not to go overboard. Embellishment may be tempting – particularly for young graduates – but employers want to know what you’ve really done. Communicate any career training you have and how it relates to the position.
“Employers hiring at the entry level are looking at candidates for potential just as much as experience,” Quinn said. “Grandiose claims of skills and qualifications from young candidates are red flags to employers.”
Instead, be yourself, and in cases where you lack experience, display a willingness and desire to learn the necessary skills.
Every interaction counts
Anyone you encounter within proximity to the interview setting can have a direct influence on its outcome. Having a positive and respectful attitude creates a more welcoming environment all around you and sets you up for success during the interview.
“Be as courteous as possible to anyone you meet, whether it’s the receptionist, security guard or parking attendant,” comments Quinn. “And you never know. That stranger you meet on the elevator may turn out to be your interviewer.”
Share your past work
A portfolio of past work or testimonials from previous employers or clients speaks volumes for your credibility and dedication to a job. Photography of output in the skilled trades may help illustrate the work you’re capable of doing.
Good follow-through is important and shows a potential employer that a candidate cares about the opportunity. Be sure to send a note to everyone who interviewed you, thanking them for their time and consideration.
Enhance your skills
Many students say that in this tough job market, their current credentials just aren’t passing the test. If you find yourself lacking the necessary skills for employment, it’s never too late to consider furthering your education.
Courtesy of ARA Content