How to Nail Your Next Job Interview

How to Nail Your Next Job InterviewAn employer must sift through sometimes thousands of resumes before selecting the few to call. And after a phone interview, only a handful are chosen for that coveted in-person interview. When you receive that call, it can definitely seem like cause for a celebration. But  it’s really just the beginning of another challenge. For some people, that phone call signals their soon-to-be new job; they know they have what it takes to impress the employer and are confident in their interview skills. For others, it’s cause for anxiety.

When you’re looking to nail your next interview, there are some things you can do before, during and after to help increase the odds you’ll receive that real celebratory phone call—the job offer.

Research. Just like you did with the phone interview, make sure you know some things about the company before you show up to meet with the interviewer. This information can be great “small talk” and can also help you come up with well-informed questions about the position and company.

Study your resume.  When you memorize the information on your resume, you don’t have to search for words to describe why you’re qualified. Practice explaining your qualifications and job history. Your career progression may be normal to you but may look illogical to someone not familiar with what motivated certain decisions. Look at it through the eyes of the interviewer and learn to explain it in a way that makes sense.

Pack lightly. A potential employer wants to see that you are prepared. Pack a few extra resumes, a list of references and even a printout of the job opening and put them in a portfolio to carry with you. Bring a few pens and some breath mints as well. Don’t show up empty-handed, and don’t bring along shopping packages, any children or other companions.

Show up early and shut off your phone. Arrive about 10 minutes early and even more if you are not sure about the exact location of the interview. If your arrive at the exact time of the interview, you’re considered a late arrival. Shut off your phone even before you enter the building.

Make a good first impression. The receptionist is the first line of a company’s employees and your interview begins with that person. Be personable and polite with everyone. You never know who’s passing on information about candidates to the recruiting manager.

Smile and relax. The potential boss doesn’t want to just know that you’re capable; they want to know that you would be pleasant to work with. Be friendly and easy-going. Watch your body language—make eye contact; have good posture, and avoid fidgeting. Above all, do your best to relax.

Be clear and concise in your answers. An interview is all about getting to know you and why you are great for the job. The key is to find the right balance between providing enough information and giving too much context, something Latinos tend to do. Make sure you practice how to provide clear and concise answers that address the question and don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer if they would like to hear more about something.

Brag a Little. The interview is your time to shine—give them a little something extra and let your personality come through. Maybe the job description didn’t ask for someone who is bilingual, for instance. But, this additional asset can be worked into nearly any position that has contact with the public. Remember to make your personal accomplishments clear by speaking in the first person “I” rather than “we”.

Send a Letter. Job interview thank you letters show good taste and professionalism. Given that few people use the physical kind of card, you will stand out in the recruiter’s mind just by sending one within 24 hours after the interview. Make the letter personal and mention a few things that were discussed at the interview.

Follow Up. While your thank you letter is a form of follow up, it doesn’t have to be the only one. If you haven’t heard anything in a week, or by the time the employer said they would be reaching a decision, call or email. Always end on a high note, with something like, “I am still very much interested in the position and am looking forward to hearing from you soon.” Even if they tell you that you didn’t get the job, be pleasant. You never know when that recruiter will have another opportunity for you or when they’ll be working elsewhere and remembering your great personality.

Keep Looking. Not all interviews are successful interviews. But, they are all good learning experiences. When you are on the search for a new job, it may take several before you really nail one. Keep your confidence high and don’t get discouraged—the right job is out there.

This article was originally published on Mamiverse.

How to Have a Successful Phone Interview

How to Have a Successful Phone InterviewYou’ve been sending your resume out to anyone who seemed remotely interested, hoping to find something to fit your needs or maybe even that dream job you’ve always wanted. When you finally get that initial phone call from a company, you better be completely prepared. The phone interview, though not used by all employers, is a quick way for a potential boss to weed through several qualified applicants before calling them all in for face-to-face interviews. If you’ve made it this far in the job search, it’s time to get serious about impressing the employer. Your goal during this phone call is to give them enough reason to want to meet you. These tips can help.

Don’t take the call if it’s a bad time. Some employers will call out of the blue and hope you’re available for the interview immediately but this isn’t always the best thing for you. You might have kids running around in the background or you may be driving. Arrange for a time that’s mutually convenient, where you will be able to completely focus on the phone conversation. But be sure to schedule it ASAP, as employers usually want to get phone interviews out of the way fairly quickly.

Have notes ready. Like practicing before a face-to-face interview, you must prepare for this one too. Luckily with a phone interview, the interviewer won’t see you looking at your notes, so jot down some things you want to highlight during the conversation, but be careful not to read directly from the paper during the interview so you sound natural.

Rehearse. Some employers are getting more in-depth with their phone interviews; be prepared for this by practicing some questions and answers as you would for a regular interview. Be ready to explain why you have a two-year gap on your resume, or the fact that you worked in three very different industries. The key is to tell your story in a way that it sounds rational.

Take notes. Along with having some notes ready, take notes when you learn relevant information about the company or the position that you didn’t already know. Using these at your next interview will likely impress your interviewer.

Research. When you know something about the company beforehand, it shows your interest in the position goes beyond a weekly paycheck. Use the Internet to familiarize yourself with the company history, mission statement, organization, and even possibly the interviewer herself/himself. You can even use this information to come up with a few questions of your own. You might want to explore their Diversity department and policies. Learning about any programs the company has to attract Hispanic employees or consumers might shed light on the kind of organization they are and it may help you weave in ideas or expertise you might be able to offer.

Don’t interrupt. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to interrupt someone on a phone call when they were only stopping for a breath. Make sure the interviewer has completed a thought before you begin talking and practice some basic telephone etiquette.

Slow down. If English is your second language and you have an accent, I suggest that you make a deliberate effort to speak slowly. I tend to speak very fast and had to learn to slow down when doing public presentations so that I don’t lose clarity. This is ever more important on the phone where people can’t see you.

Express your interest in the job before the end of the call. Be prepared to tell the interviewer what interests you about the position and why you believe you would be a good match. Think of skills, experience and personality traits that make you a uniquely good fit. (Why should they hire you and not one of the ten other people with your same skill set? Why do you stand apart?)

Ask for the best way to follow up. You need to know how best to contact the interviewer, or whoever is in charge of arranging future interviews. If a face-to-face interview isn’t arranged during this call, make sure you ask when a decision will be made and who you can call to follow up. Don’t appear desperate, but make sure it’s known that you plan on keeping in contact.

The phone interview is more important than a dress rehearsal, and some people actually suggest you dress the part to get in that interview mindset. If you don’t nail this brief conversation, you will not get invited to interview for the position. Take this interview seriously and you’ll likely talk your way into the next phase of the hiring process.

This article was originally published on Mamiverse.