These days, an interview often starts with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” That shouldn’t be hard, right? After...
Your Opportunity to Shine!
Interviewing is a skill and practice makes perfect. Put your best foot forward and avoid these mistakes:
Winging it: Unplanned, impulsive answers usually lead to a disastrous interview. Before a job interview, think carefully about the questions you’re likely to get asked, and practice your answers to those questions. It’s a good idea to do a mock interview with a friend or family member to rehearse your answers.
Not doing your homework: Most interviewers expect you to know something about their company, or the industry. Learn as much as you can about the company, and think about how your skills and experience fit with what the company does, and how you fit with the company culture.
Bad-mouthing your former employer: Making negative comments about your last boss will brand you as a complainer, and no one wants to hire a complainer!
Being a downer: Always avoid negativity in an interview. Smile and make eye contact; be positive and confident. Think of the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation. This will also help you to relax, and the more you can enjoy the conversation, the more likely you are to make a good impression.
Not sending a thank you: Following up after a job interview can help you stand out amongst the other candidates and reinforce your interest in the position. After a job interview, always send a note of appreciation with a statement of how interested you are in the job.
Following up a second time: Follow up with your interviewer a second time only if you have heard nothing after a suitable interval. Make one follow-up attempt (email or phone), again expressing your interest. After that, stop, or the interviewer may feel like you’re being a nuisance.
Always remember: The job interview is a two-way street.
You are being assessed against the requirements of the job and you are assessing if the job is a good fit for you.
The layoff is bound to come up in a job interview, and you’ll need to be prepared to address the subject. It may be tempting to “vent” about the layoff. You must remain positive in order to show the employer that you don’t think of yourself as a victim, and that you’ve moved past the layoff.
Mention the factual reasons for the layoff, e.g., the company was restructuring, or operations were being moved to a new location. Then add a positive spin, such as, “This has given me the opportunity to think about the kind of job I really want.”
If you have a significant gap in your work history, you must be prepared to explain it.
Did you make the most out of the time you took “off?” Have you stayed busy and motivated? Taken online courses or classes at a local college? Have you volunteered? Joined organizations? Assisted? Held part-time jobs? Blogged? Taught? Organized? Coordinated? Planned? Spearheaded? Led? What skills did you grow through these experiences? Explain how the above has made you marketable for the job you want at this time.
You must also be prepared to talk about why you are coming back into the workforce and how you feel about it. (This will not be about how good it will feel to make money again!)
Be prepared to show interviewers that you are ready and excited to get back into the workforce because, for example, you look forward to working closely with other professionals and interacting with and helping coworkers on a daily basis. Or maybe you see working at that company and in that particular job as contributing to society, as well as to your own personal development. You could be chomping at the bit to use your professional skills again, and learning more. This is what the interviewer needs to hear so your gap fades in importance.
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