Congratulations Batch 2020!
The demand for talent varies among industries. But unless you plan on building your own business, freelancing, or leaving your diploma to waste away, you’re more likely going to need to learn how to be successful during a job hunt. For most roles, the standard job application process starts off with candidates submitting their initial applications.
But what do you do, exactly, after you’ve landed an interview?
There’s a couple of things you should do before you go in for the actual interview. First and foremost, don’t face your interviewers unprepared—most especially so if you don’t know the first thing about the company. And this doesn’t mean you should simply conduct a Google search, check out a few of their posts, and be done with it. Learn about the role you’re applying for. What would be expected of you? Are there any specific traits they’re looking for in potential candidates? Read as much as you can to become well-versed in these areas. Make sure you can properly introduce yourself without simply listing off facts they may already know about you—especially ones already written in your resume.
Once you’re done with the previous steps, take your time to study an industry trend or two. Make it a point to learn as much as you can about it. This will come in handy later on. Then, after you’ve finished mentally getting ready for it, you’re now ready to move on to more technical preparations.
Dress the part. For most interviews, they’ll usually be expecting you to wear business attire. Arrive on time. You may (or may not) have been comfortable with getting to class late during your undergraduate studies—but now certainly isn’t the time for that. If anything, this should serve as your wake up call to stick to your word and better respect your time and theirs.
Emphasize your potential
During the actual interview, the first step to standing out and proving you’re the best candidate for the position is knowing your strengths like the back of your hand. Avoid giving them generic answers. Instead, tell your interviewers what unique skills you can bring to the table. Keep in mind that unless prompted, you should leave the hard, objective facts on your resume and portfolio.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to share meaningful and relevant experiences that helped shape you into the person you are today. After all, stories sell. Unsure how to expound on your answers? Consider thinking of responses to the following questions:
- What made you apply for the position?
- When did you need to quickly adapt to your environment? How did you do so?
- Has your mastery of certain technical tools solved any problems? What were they and how did it go?
…but don’t oversell yourself
While it’s your primary objective to prove that you’re fit for the role, avoid coming across too strong. After all, there’s a difference between being confident and arrogant. Sometimes, it may be best to acknowledge that you don’t know everything—because no one does and no one expects you to. And certainly don’t even think of exaggerating any of your achievements. In addition to how easy it is to fact check nowadays, lacking proof of your previous work’s quality or blatantly lying to your interviewers are major red flags.
There are a few ways you can effectively close your interview. The most common one is to ask questions to show you’re truly interested in the position. More often than not, interviewers give aspirants this time to learn about things that weren’t placed in the hiring poster. Take this opportunity to get a snapshot of the company’s culture or the performance metrics for the role itself.
Otherwise, be prepared to summarize your value proposition to give them a quick refresher. Build significant connections between you and the industry trends you studied while preparing for this interview. Keep them as relevant as possible to the duties they’ve listed.
At the very least, ask their preferred method of communication so you’ll be able to appropriately reach out and follow up on your application. Don’t forget to send a thank-you note within 24 hours of the interview too. If the company initially contacted you through email, then it’s best to send your thank-you notes the same way, as answered by 94% of HR managers in the Accountemps survey.
Off you go!
Do your best, but don’t get discouraged if you get rejected. After all, everyone’s only looking for the best fit for their teams. Who knows, the first “No” you might receive may lead you towards greener pastures—one filled with teamwork, growth, and excellence.
Stay open to an endless list of possibilities, graduates. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!