Interviewing Without Ego
You’ve worked on your resume, sent it out, maybe gone to a few job fairs, and lined up a few interviews. You know your stuff, and what you don’t know you can learn. You’re young, eager, and smart – this should be a snap, right? Maybe, but remember…
It’s not about you
So, you need money. You’re looking for a job, preferably one that suits who you are, has flexible hours, and great people to work with. Bonus points if it’s fun and pays reasonably well.
You may want all these things, and you may find some or all of them, but your best chance of actually landing the job is in demonstrating to the interviewer that you’re familiar with the company’s needs.
Don’t tell the interviewer how great you are, show them.
It’s about them
Employers are looking for people to do a job, whether it’s sales, service, or working in an office. They don’t care that you need the money; employers care whether you can do the job, and fit into the culture of their specific work place.
Do your homework
Get as much background information as you can. Check the company’s website. Or, if you have friends or family who work for the company, ask them what they do, and what you can expect from your interviewer.
You’re great, and you know that, but confidence can only take you so far. Simply telling the interviewer that you’re the best person for the job isn’t going to win points. It’s just going to make you look full of yourself.
Find out about the company you’re interviewing for and what they pride themselves in. You can use this information to tailor your responses to the interviewer’s questions. If service is important to them, let the interviewer know about that summer you helped out at the retirement home. Or if sales is a focus, let them know about the spring you sold the most Girl Scout cookies in your troop.
Prepare to ask at least three questions about the company and the job you’re applying for. This shows initiative, that you took the time to learn about their needs, and how you can help. Remember – interviews go both ways. If you demonstrate interest in the company, it shows that you really care. And, if you don’t care, why would you want to work there?
Show up early. The interviewer has set aside time in their day to interview, and they may have a host of other candidates before and after you. If you’re late or squeeze in at the last minute, you could delay others down the line, and it very well may hurt your chances of getting the job.
Wear clean dress clothes as a sign of respect, even if it’s common to wear jeans and t-shirts while actually on the job.
Remember to always thank the interviewer for their time. However awkward or amazing the interview was, it’s nice to leave on a positive and respectful note.
Wait a full week, and if you haven’t heard back, follow up with the interviewer. Call or send an email thanking them again for their time and the opportunity to interview with them.