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5 Steps To A Successful Job Interview

5 Steps To A Successful Job Interview

Let’s be real — preparing for a job interview can be nerve-racking. However, with the help of the internet, you can find endless amounts of advice and tips from entrepreneurs and CEOs about how to excel in your job interviews.

To save you time, I scuffled through an eye-watering amount of articles and selected only the best. From the way you should dress to the tone of your resume, the first impression you make on a future employer is crucial. But, have no fear. Here are five essential steps to help you have a successful job interview and secure your dream job.

1. You Need A Killer Resume

What’s the first thing your potential future employer can judge you on? Your resume!

True story: if I had a dime for every time someone confidently sent a resume filled with grammar errors, I would have Donald Trump in an apron scrubbing my floor.

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One of the biggest issues for job seekers is submitting resumes containing spelling errors or flat tone. If you don’t want to sound dull, it’s time to quit Google searching “job resume samples” or “job objective samples,” and start using your creativity to stand out from the pack.

Keep your resume short and straightforward. If possible, try and make everything fit on one page. For the objective or professional summary, add the position title and refrain from sounding too generic. Employers really notice when you put sweat, blood, and tears into your resume.

2. You Need To Look Snazzy

Now that your resume is nice and polished, it’s time to find the freshest outfit for the big day. For either gender, you can find affordable business attire at Ross or Marshall’s for less than $30. Macy’s is also an excellent choice for women looking to invest in a chic pair of shoes. However, if you’re a man, and want to look extra dapper, you can find elegant shoes at Hand Welt Co.

Unless you’re applying for an office position, it is best not to overdress or you might give the wrong impression. At the same time, try not to underdress, or you may come across as lazy and uncaring.

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For men, an important factor when fixing up your self-image should be facial hair. Trim that beard and mustache. For both genders alike, cover up tattoos and remove piercings before heading to the interview.

3. What To Do BEFORE The Interview

It’s almost time. You’re in the waiting room, tapping your fingers on the chair, itching for them to call your name. As seconds turn into minutes, it’s best to rehearse your responses to the boss’ questions. Research commonly asked questions in an interview and have canned answers prepared so that you can lean on them during the interview if you need them.

Take deep breaths by inhaling through your nose and exhaling out through the mouth. Also, memorize all the lines you are going to say by reciting a dozen times in case you freeze during the interview. Read up on the company via their website again too. Grab a mint and chew on it so your breath doesn’t knock down planes when it’s time to meet the head honcho.

4. What To Do DURING The Interview

As soon as you walk in the door, reach out for a firm handshake. Make sure you make consistent eye contact, that way the boss sees you as confident. When it’s time to speak, do so slowly — it will keep you from stuttering. Showing your hands is always a sign of honesty and should be done during the interview process.

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Want to know a secret? When speaking, use your hands too; this makes you seem more intelligent and charismatic. Another great way to ace the interview is sliding in compliments when the time is perfect.

Are you the shaky type? If your anxiety is worse than most people’s, squeeze your buttocks and tighten your muscles. You won’t be as shaky anymore. End the interview with: “Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I appreciate the opportunity!”

5. What To Do AFTER The Interview

Once the dust settles, it’s time to analyze how well you did. Were there any screw-ups or regrets during the interview process? If so, learn from your mistakes and move on.

As you patiently wait for the nod, it’s best to keep applying for new jobs, even if you are confident the job is yours. And last but not least, if you didn’t get the job, don’t panic because we’ve all been there.

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Once in a while, I tend to recall a quote by Robert F. Kennedy: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via theconversation.com

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Jose Florez

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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