Finding the perfect job is hard; however, bracing yourself for a job interview might be harder. But relax! The company you are applying for have already seen your resume, and they already called. You’re halfway there, and you’ve got a foot in the door. So how do you get that dream job?
Dennis Heruela, PR practioner and trained life coach, shares a few tips. “Appearing at the interview unprepared, which includes looking untidy and unkempt, having no copy of resume or portfolios, and having no clue as to what the job position or company is all about. This shows an overall picture of disinterest for the job and an impression of immaturity which puts to question whether you are ready to take on the job responsibilities needed.”
1. Start power dressing.
The way you look is your first selling point. “Different industries have different standards and acceptable workplace attire,” Heruela says. “Some industries like banking, finance, and academe tend to be on the conservative side of dressing, while those in the creative or IT fields tend to be more relaxed and casual with the way they look. One can ask those who are already working in the industry about what are acceptable or no-no looks in their field. The important thing to note during interviews is to appear neat and dressed in a more business-looking attire. Some interpret it as “one level higher than the everyday look in the office.”
2. Do some research on the company you are applying for.
Find out as much as you can about the company you are applying for. Try to relate what you’ve learned about them and use it in the interview. This will show your interest and understanding of what the company’s vision is. “It also gives you an understanding of the company’s culture, business model and practices, and how they reward their employees,” Heruela says. “All these would help you decide whether you fit the company and see yourself developing a rewarding career in the organization.”
3. Clean up your social media accounts.
You’ve done your research about the company. Who knows? Maybe they’ll do the same with you. The fastest way to learn more about you, the applicant, is through social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Make sure that no embarrassing photos—drunken Friday nights?—can only be seen by friends. Better yet, delete posts like this.
4. Be confident.
By now you’ve Googled probable interview questions and you know the answers by heart. But even knowing all this might not give you the results you want. “The secret to presenting yourself well and speaking with certainty and clarity during interview is being self-confident,” Heruela says. “No amount of education and credentials will make you appear competent and credible if deep inside you is a nagging belief that you aren’t fit for the job or worth listening to. The basics of a confident and competent applicant include good grooming, clarity in communication, and good manners during interview. These are clues that would give an idea of how you will be at work.”[crp]
5. Sell yourself.
An interview is no time to be humble. It’s the time to impress and show them that you are the best candidate for the position. “Whatever strengths you have which you think will add value to the position you are applying, you must tell the interviewer,” Heruela stresses. “You only have that opportunity to sell yourself, be upfront with it.” This is not to say you should make false claims or exaggerate your accomplishments, just that you shouldn’t hide your light under a bushel.
6. Stay positive.
“Whatever happens, an applicant must always veer on the positive side of things during interview. It is bad taste to speak of something or someone in a negative light. This creates an impression that on the job, you might be difficult to work with,” Heruela says. If you’re asked the staple question about your weaknesses or flaws, make sure to note how these also drive you to be better and what you are doing to improve on them.
7. Figure out why you want this job.
The job you are applying for might be your dream job, or it could be a stepping stone for grander opportunities. Before you go into that interview, assess first why you want the position and how it can help in your career development. “New graduates who are embarking on a career should be open to possibilities,” Heruela sharesd. “You may not necessarily get the job that you want at the moment but take into regard the skills and knowledge you can develop from a current job position being offered. Focus on your natural skills and the immediate experience (i.e., organized a school event, organization president, etc.) you can apply to your work. These will help you sharpen skills that could open doors to bigger career opportunities in the future.”
For those with some experience who want to advance to a higher position, Heruela suggests, “Be daring enough to take on a project that allows you to demonstrate the ability to handle bigger challenges a higher position demands. Invest in seminars and training that not only add to your credentials but will also give you the knowledge and technical know-how needed when you take on a crucial assignment.”
8. Be circumspect about following up.
To follow-up or not to follow-up? “That is a question you need to ask the interviewer,” Heruela says. “Some appreciate followups because it gives them an idea of how interested you are. Others regard it as a disturbance and a waste of their time. Ask the interviewer what they prefer and respect it.”
9. Ask intelligent questions.
A job description doesn’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know about the position you’re applying for. It certainly doesn’t tell you much about the culture of the team and company you might be joining. So ask your interviewer questions to learn more about the position for yourself; it will also leave a favorable impression on your interviewer because it’ll show that you’re both interested in the company and the job and that you have the initiative to try to understand what’s in store for you should you take the job. This is something you’ll ideally apply to any projects you work on once you’ve joined the company.
10. Remember it’s a two-way street.
Like dating, a job interview offers the opportunity for two parties to assess one another in the hope of determining compatibility. That is to say that as much as you might want to focus on impressing your interviewers, remember that the company should impress you as well. Be sensitive to nuances, and keep your eyes and ears open. While waiting for the interview, does everyone who passes you by seem to be complaining at work? Maybe your interviewer hasn’t even bothered to read your resume. You need to ask yourself if a company that tolerates these kinds of employees or treats its employees in a certain way is really a company you want to work for.
Additional reporting by Liana Smith Bautista
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Ana Valenzuela graduated with a degree in AB Literature from UST. She has written for several media outlets. She is currently taking her Master's from UP.