Public Service Announcement: In case you missed my tweet on Twitter a few days ago, I got a job! It’s only a part-time job, but I’m still super excited about it. I’ll be working as a server in a fine-dining restaurant, and I start today! I’ll go into more details about my new job later this week, but for now, I’m going to finish sharing my job searching tips and tricks.
Last Monday, I shared some of my job searching pointers that pertain to the job application process. Today I’m going to share some pointers on the interview process, as well as some miscellaneous tips:
Before, During, and After the Interview
- Bring the energy! Employers like it when you show a lot of energy and enthusiasm during your interview. A good way to ensure you bring the energy during your interview is to drink some caffeine beforehand. Chris loves to drink Red Bull before his job interviews; in fact, he drank a Red Bull before the last five interviews he had, and guess what? He received a job offer for all five jobs. I drank a Red Bull before the interview I just received a job offer for. Combined, we’re now six for six.
- Wear a suit to the interview. It doesn’t matter if the employer’s dress code is business casual or just plain casual, you need to wear a suit to the interview; it shows you take the job seriously.
- Be prepared to be interviewed on the spot. This specifically applies to phone interviews. A few months ago, an employer called me and left me a voicemail in regards to a position I had applied for. I called her back thinking she just wanted to set up an interview time with me. Turns out she wanted to interview me on the spot, and I wasn’t prepared at all, and she could tell! This also goes for when you apply for jobs in person. When I went in to submit my resume at the restaurant where I just got hired on at, the manager interviewed me on the spot. Luckily, I had mentally prepared myself that time!
- Be prepared for trick questions from the interviewer. I never knew trick interview questions were a common thing until I started job searching a few months ago. Interviewers seem to be asking more and more trick questions these days to easily weed out unqualified candidates. During some of my recent interviews, I’ve been asked, “What did you do to prepare for your interview today?” and “If you could work at any restaurant, where would you work?” During one of Chris’ recent interviews, the first question the interviewer asked him was “Who’s the CEO of our company?” For a full list of common trick questions, check out this article.
- Always prepare questions ahead of time to ask at the end of your interview. And not questions about the job’s salary, benefits package, or vacation time. Ask what’s both challenging and rewarding about the job. Ask about opportunities for advancement to show your career ambitions and that you’re interested in staying with the company for a long time. Employers also like when you ask them about their history with the company, what they like about working for the company, etc.
- Send a “thank you note” to the interviewer a day or two after your interview. And by thank you note, I mean a follow-up email that not only thanks the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you, but shows that you’re still enthusiastic about the job. Interviewers like to know that you went home, thought about what was discussed in the interview, and you’re still excited about the position.
- Do not assume you’re going to get the job no matter how well the interview went. This is the best way to set yourself up for disappointment. An even worse idea is to stop applying for other jobs because you think you’re going to get a job offer based on how well an interview went. The best thing to do after an interview is to assume you didn’t get it and move on with your job search. That way, if you don’t get it, you never got your hopes up to begin with.
- If you get rejected for a job, email the employer asking for feedback. This is a good way to find out why you didn’t get the job and get feedback to help you with your continuing job search. I did this for the last two jobs I got rejected for, and I’m glad I did, because I found out that even though I didn’t get the jobs, the interviewers thought I was a great candidate, I had impressed them, and it was a tough decision, but they ended up choosing someone with more experience. It made me feel better to know that I had done well in my interview, and the reason I didn’t get the job was for one I couldn’t control.
- Check your resume/cover letter for mistakes. Check it again. Then have a second set of eyes check for mistakes. Then check it again. This might seem like an obvious tip, but I really can’t stress it enough. I always double-check my resume/cover letter before submitting them, but last week, I found a mistake on my resume a few days after I had already submitted it for a job opening. I wanted to pull my hair out as soon as I saw it! Now I’m extra OCD about checking for mistakes because apparently I can’t trust spell check.
- Put your social media on lockdown during your job search. Employers will check potential candidates’ social media profiles during an interview process, and I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. While volunteering at a non-profit office a couple weeks ago, my supervisor told me about a potential new intern he was considering while he searched for her Facebook profile! Luckily, her page was set to private so he couldn’t see anything.
- Keep in contact with your references and professional contacts. I think it’s good to keep in contact with old bosses/co-workers in case you ever need to use them as a reference. Over the holidays, I sent out Christmas cards to the last three bosses I had as a small way of keeping in touch.
Do you have any good interview tips to share? How about any general job searching tips?