This comes up often, and I usually have to qualify it by saying, well, that’s a loaded issue. I’d have to know more: what’s your education? experience? what are you applying for? how many is “trying and trying”? How long have you been looking? what’s the industry? area? and so forth. There are a LOT of variables involved. Regardless, here are a few things in general you might be able to use. Personally, I’ve interviewed dozens of times and know the ropes so well that if I wanted to I could interview with about a 90% chance of getting the job. If you do it right, you can almost will the job right into your lap. Yes! just that easy, with a lot of hard work leading up to it.
Here are some tips:
1. Know the questions. Practice some of the general hiring questions and then the industry specific questions. Over prepare. WAY over prepare.
2 Keep your answers short and to the point.
3. Don’t comment on the interviewer’s hair, clothes, suit, office .. . Keep it completely to the interview. Believe it or not, some people think that by doing this you’re socially a loose cannon. Go figure. Anyway, you can be social, but keep it professional and to the point, especially if you’re not coming in with a lot of experience or background. Nothing worse than an uppity upstart.
4. You should go into the interview not caring if you get the job or not. Why? Have you ever seen an uptight athlete do well in key, high pressure moments? One of the biggest killers is nerves. There are ways to get over this. Personally, I never get nervous. I used to all the time. Now, after considerable training and focus, could care less. I know I’m great and that’s that. Oh, that leads to the next one.
5. Confident. Be it.
6. People hiring don’t have the upper hand. If you think they do, you’re going to come across desperate. Desperation is not pretty. You are amazing. You are great. You are the person for the job (If you don’t think so, why are you interviewing? And if you are but don’t come across that way, well, then, come across that way).
7. Research the company. Research the company. Research the company. Did I say research the company? ’nuff said.
8. Go there the day before or get there real early, like an hour before the interview. Feel the lay of the land. Look around. This will help in, #1, not being late; #2 getting relaxed; #3 maybe you’ll run into a few people who might give you some tips and pointers on how to get a job there. Oh, yes! hardly anyone thinks of this. You might also try talking to a friendly secretary or gate person several days before the interview. And that’s not the person at the gate, but the gatekeepers or those who filter contacts for the big guys and gals upstairs.
9. Referring to #7, and not directly about the interview, really, but consider that if you interview at a company that is not conducive to your personality or style–the co.’s culture is at odds to your personality type–what a huge waste of time that’s going to be as you might get the job, work there for a few months, come to hate it, and then want to leave. Not good.
10. Do your homework. About EVERYTHING. The company, as stated above, the company’s work culture, who you’ll be working for and with and what they’re like. Believe me, I’m sure there’s at least one or two interviews you had that didn’t work out just because it was a mismatch between you and the company culture. Don’t worry. No biggie.
Finally, keep in mind that if you don’t get the job or a call back it can be for numerous reasons. You may have gotten into the back end of the rotation where the company already found the new-hire and they’re just going through the motions of finishing out the interviews. Or maybe you’re just not a match, as I mentioned above. Or sometimes the job has been recalled because of lack of funding or restructuring. On and on it goes. And even if you got the job because you were not a match to the qualifications, well, if you want that job get the qualifications and go back and get it. And it might not be right then and there but later down the road after you’ve been working for a while.
But don’t ever get desperate. Always be professional, no matter WHAT happens. One semester I was desperate for another class just so my wife and I could pay the bills. Out of the blue, like a Christmas miracle movie, I got a call late one December evening from a chair at a college I had been shooting for, for some time. And just like a miracle movie, I was given the job, but just like that miracle movie, I got a call back the next day the chair telling me sorry, that a full time professor who had priority took it. I said, not a problem and calmly said goodbye wishing him a Merry Christmas. And guess what? The very next day the chair of the dept. called back and told me he had another class just come free, (yes! just like in that miracle movie) which he was so happy to have because he had felt bad having to turn me away, and he felt that since I was so nice he just KNEW something would come up.
Stay in character. Be professional at ALL times. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. And work like a dog to make sure that you’re the go to guy / gal so that you get to the point where they come after you, not visa versa. You WILL get the job. But better yet, the CAREER that will not only sustain and maintain you financially but emotionally and spiritually. To your success!