Wednesday, June 26, 2013 Insider - Five Do's And Five Don'ts For Job Interviews -Insider - June 26, 2013

Five Do's And Five Don'ts For Job Interviews

Getting a job interview has never been a problem for you, but getting a job offer has.

Perhaps, your approach to interviews is wrong. Did you know that preparing for an interview is the most crucial part of the interview process? Thinking about interviews years in advance can help you decide which courses to take in school and which lower-level job opportunities to accept.

Job interview experts who have studied the entire process have compiled a list of do’s and don’t for the job interview process.

The do’s include:

1. Think Like An Interviewer: Envisioning yourself as your interviewers can help you think about their perspective and the questions they will ask. Thus, you will think about answers to specific questions. Lehigh (Pa.) University’s Career Services Department recommends practicing your answers out loud and arranging mock interviews with job counselors who have the expertise to ask excellent questions.

2. Research The Employer: Your answers will be better if they include facts about the employer. More importantly, your interest in the company will impress the interviewer. The UC-San Diego’s Department of Economics & Economics Leadership Council recommends researching the company, your interviewers’ job responsibilities, and what people with the job title you’re interviewing for do.

3. Discuss Pertinent Accomplishments: Convincing interviewers that you can help the company is easier if you talk about specific past accomplishments that are relevant to the job vacancy rather than your best achievements. UC-San Diego says an interview is about “how you can help the company achieve its goals, not how the company can help you achieve yours.”

4. Listen Carefully: Listening is often more important than talking in interviews. You should be particularly careful about answering questions directly and concisely when that is what the interviewer clearly prefers. “People enjoy talking about themselves so they will reflect that you had a great interview if they did a lot of the talking,” reports UC-San Diego.

5. Make A Good Last Impression: You should express enthusiasm for the job when the interview ends and tell interviewers you want to talk to them again, but that is not your last impression. In fact, sending follow-up e-mails and letters can be more important. Arizona State University recommends sending thank you notes within two days of the interview.

The don’ts include:

1. Don’t Ignore Phone “Interviews”: A phone call might be a de-facto job interview, according to Cornell (N.Y.) University’s “Top 10 Interviewing Tips” article. Cornell recommends being as professional on the phone as you are in person. That means speaking professionally rather than speaking casually and not eating or drinking during the phone call.

2. Don’t Criticize Past Employers: Interviewers are reluctant to hire negative people who might harm their employees’ morale or criticize the company. They also might conclude that your past employer’s behavior was appropriate, or they might not care who was wrong.

3. Don’t Be Unprepared: You should plan your route to the interview and what clothes to wear at least one day in advance. Texas A&M University’s Student Employment Office recommends arriving 10 to 15 minutes early. Showing up without contact information for your references, copies of your resume, business cards and possibly work samples is also being unprepared.

4. Don’t Be Unprofessional Online: While you’re researching the company, the company might be researching you. Consequently, you should be very careful about what you post on social media websites, particularly professionally-oriented websites like LinkedIn. Revealing too much of yourself can be a turnoff to companies that are concerned about discretion.

5. Don’t Focus On Money: Asking about salary too soon can convince an interviewer that you’re more concerned about money than doing a good job. In fact, Arizona State recommends “always” waiting for the interviewer to bring up the subject and UC-San Diego reports that mentioning a specific salary can eliminate you from consideration.