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Interviewing Tips for the Job Seeker

By Elizabeth Z. Flanagan, SPHR, Vice President, Human Resources, Washington Trust

Job interviews can be stressful, even for the job seeker who has gone on many interviews. The best way to reduce the stress is to be prepared. Here are some tips:

Interview

Make a good first impression. A professional resume should be one page, and free of errors, brief and to the point and include descriptions of employment, education, certifications, and computer skills. Briefly describe any notable achievements and community service. Make your resume stand out from the thousands recruiters receive. Be aware of how your resume transmits electronically, since certain fonts and spacing may not transmit as you intended.

Contact information should be easy to locate on your resume. Highlight your name, phone number, and email address in bold at the top of your resume.

Do your homework. Be knowledgeable about the company and the position. Select key points from the job posting to show a correlation with your experience and the skills that the company seeks. Check the company website and familiarize yourself with the history, mission statement, and corporate culture. Employers expect job seekers to do their homework!

Dress for success. Looking professional may set you apart from other candidates. Be sure to dress professionally; business attire always makes an excellent impression. Over accessorizing may be distracting; you want the recruiter to focus on you, and not to be distracted!

Prepare questions about the job and the company. This shows that you are interested and inquisitive. Come prepared with 3 or 4 relevant questions about the company, training, career path within the organization, and questions that relate specifically to the position. Recruiters want to know that you are interested in that specific job with their company. Avoid questions about time-off, vacation, and benefits until you progress further in the process.

Use examples from successful work or school projects. These will show that you are organized, prepared, work well with deadlines, and have had to communicate information to others. Never speak negatively of former employers. Instead, relay difficult employment situations in a positive manner and be prepared to discuss what you learned from these situations.

Bring references. Having a list of references available at the interview demonstrates that you are organized and will save the recruiter an extra step. Make sure that you have contacted your references beforehand and have asked their permission to be contacted.

Follow-up. Sending a thank you to the recruiter after an interview shows that you are serious about the opportunity. A brief email or handwritten note thanking them for their time and restating your interest in the position will go a long way. Be sure to send one to the hiring manager and others who may have participated in the interview. You don't want to overlook the decision maker!

Confidence, enthusiasm, interest, and teamwork will be your key to successfully landing the job you want.

 

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