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Interviewing – Top 6 Tips for Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Laura Wilson | Recruiter, Egencia in Bellevue, Washington

The old saying of “throw your name in the hat” is just not going to cut it in today’s job market. Especially if you are seeking to work for an industry leader and/or highly sought-after company. The competition for job seekers is tough so you need to do what you can to stand out among the crowd.

Being a Recruiter for Egencia, when it comes to job searching, you name it and I have seen it. I have directly seen what works and what doesn’t. Below are some tips, and although they will not guarantee you a job offer, it will get you going in the right direction and help to best prepare you for when that right opportunity presents itself and ensure you are not overlooked.

Tip 1 – Tailor your resume

Don’t assume that Recruiters and/or Hiring Managers will just “know” that you have the experience. If a job description is asking for specific skills and experience, then make sure that is clearly spelled out in your resume.

Take some time to research the company, their culture, and what they value. Give insights on your resume on how you will not only be a great skills match but overall a great fit for the company as well. If you are doing it right, your resumes will probably be slightly different for every job and every company that you apply for.

Tip 2 – Be responsive and meticulous in your communications

If you are in the job market, get in the habit of checking your email multiple times a day and start answering your phone. If you receive any communication with the company, you should follow up in no more than 24 hours (although within 1-3 hours is preferable). This will show the company that you are serious and excited about the position and will also ensure you do not miss out on an opportunity because of timing (sometimes things can move fast!).

You also want to make sure your communications are professional. Ensure there are no spelling errors, avoid slang language, avoid over punctuation (!!!!!), do not use shorthand or aberrations, and lastly, always use a salutation (Hi, Hello, Greetings…) and a complimentary close (Thanks, All the best, Cheers…).

Tip 3 – Know what you want/need to make a move

Before you even start your job search you should sit down and make a list of all your must-haves to even consider making a move. Make sure you communicate these needs and wants so you can have an open dialog with the company about if these needs and wants can be met. This will keep you efficient in your job search and ensure you are investing time in the right opportunities and not just interviewing to interview.

Think about this as if you were buying shoes and you find two pairs of shoes you like. Pair A lists the size and price and is an exact match for your size and budget. Pair B gives you no information. Even though you may like pair B better, you are probably more likely to go with pair A given there are no uncertainties.

Tip 4 – Ask insightful questions

At some point in your interview, someone is going to ask, “Do you have any Questions for me?” While this is a time for you to learn more about the company and position so you can make an informed decision, this is still part of your interview and you are still being judged as a candidate. Come prepared with insightful questions that show you have done research on the company, industry, and overall showcase your business acumen.

Tip 5 – Send “Thank You” follow-ups

The “Thank You” card is still very much alive! It may be a little different from the days when you could send a hand-written card via snail mail but the “Thank You” follow up is still a critical part of the interview process.

  • Include a personal touch which should be something that you and the interviewer related to on a personal level. People want to work with other people they can relate to and this will just remind them that you are that person.
  • Share some ideas or thoughts you have about getting into the role. This will show initiative that you are already picturing yourself in the role and shed some light on what to expect if you were hired.
  • Share some specifics on why you are interested in the role by recalling some points in your conversation that really got you excited for the opportunity.

A smart, thoughtful “Thank You” note is an extension of your interview and will keep you top of mind with the hiring team.

Tip 6 – Practice! Practice! Practice!

Interviewing is a skill and you want to make sure you brush up on those skills before it matters. Find someone that you feel comfortable with and take the time to sit down with them and have them ask you questions. You can look up common interview questions or even create a list of questions on your own that you anticipate being asked. Having someone else ask these questions will give you the practice of saying your answers out loud and telling a story. It will also encourage dialog with your responses which is more typical of an interview situation then just answering questions and moving on to the next.

Although you will probably not get asked the exact questions you practiced, you will at least be in the right mindset and will have already talked through similar responses, so you will feel more relaxed and will come off more confident during your interview.

Overall, go into the interview and be genuine to yourself and your experience.

No one knows you better than you. Don’t go into an interview looking to say what you think the interviewer wants you to say. If you prepare and set yourself up for success as well as being true to yourself, you will find that right opportunity with the right company!

Following these tips will take more time but if you do follow them and stay honest and true to yourself, trust me…it will be worth it when you see a higher rate of responses to your applications and start having more successful interviews!

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