Gemrick’s Guide: Interviews
If a job candidate is valuable and strong enough to be considered, they’re typically offered an interview, which comes mainly in one of two forms: phone or in-person. Whichever the case, in this week’s Gemrick’s Guide I want to offer advice to take either in stride.
A phone interview requires just as much preparation, if not more, than a face-to-face interview. One of the most important things to do is to allocate time for a phone interview.
Don’t schedule a phone interview during a period when driving is anticipated. Not only is it slightly awkward, but no one is completely focused on the interview because they’re too busy trying to drive safely.
The call should take place in a controlled environment. It needs to be a quiet, distraction-free room. If the call is going to happen through a cell phone, it’s highly recommended to use headphones — and, obviously, taking the call in an area that you know has good reception.
Have a resume printed out and available, because the interviewer will most likely ask about past experiences and detail beyond the resume they have on file. The good thing about having a resume copy at hand is that annotations can be made to serve as reminders for any points that need to be brought up.
Having a list of generic questions and the corresponding answers will prove helpful when you’re asked the questions that tend to stump everyone. Questions like, “Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?” and “How would your friends/colleagues describe you?” or the dreaded “Tell me about yourself,” require some strategy and finesse.
While your answers shouldn’t sound scripted, they should sound well thought and detailed.
U.S. News outlined seven tips to ace a phone interview. Sometimes the phone interview is just the first step before an in-person interview.
Depending on the company or industry background, a rule of thumb that I’ve always been told is to “dress better than the highest person there or whoever is interviewing you.” Dressing professionally and appropriately works to your advantage because no one is looked at oddly for being overdressed. Seeing the work attire from there allows one to adjust how professional or casual to dress based on how employees dress.
Like a phone interview, copies of resumes or portfolio materials are crucial to an in-person interview. The interviewer will appreciate the copy so that they can make notes.
It’s okay to not be naturally confident. It’s a “fake it until you make it” situation, so just display the best, most pleasant version of yourself when asking and answering questions. As a potential employee, you will also be an extension of the company as a representative. Companies will only want the best of the best.
Questions should never center on yourself. It’s not about you. It’s what you can offer to the company.
The first step would be to research the company. Items like the company website, social media and what’s happening in the news about that company or industry are great foundations to formulate specific questions.
Forbes recommends emailing a personalized thank you note. A personal “thank you” shows gratitude.
It seems like no one does this anymore, but if this job is something that you really want, send a handwritten thank you note. Emailed thank you notes and follow ups are nice, but a handwritten card or equivalent sets people apart.
Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]