You’ve aced interviews in the past. That one for the cafeteria job your freshman year and just last winter you nabbed a spot on the groundskeeper’s crew after a very successful interview. When you think back, though, those interviews were pretty much a formality. Your roommate recommended you for kitchen prep – actually, she begged the manager to hire you so she’d have a friend on the work team. And with the early, snowy winter, the grounds keeping crew were short-handed, big time, so the interview lasted maybe four minutes before the supervisor pronounced you hired.
But now that your college days are behind you, and you’re officially on the prowl for a “real” job, the game has changed. This is the big leagues. The real deal. The realization that those past interviews did nothing to prepare you for landing a real-world, honest-to-goodness, 40-hour-per-week job causes your stomach to knot.
Don’t let the prospect of a job interview send you into a tailspin. With some preparation and attention to detail, you can successfully navigate a “real world” interview. This week we’ll delve into several key “don’ts” and continue with the “dos” in next week’s post.
- Focus too heavily on college accolades
In the “real world” grades, extracurriculars, and such matter less than they did in your pre-graduation days. Of course, you’ve every reason to be proud of your accomplishments and will want to note them on your resume. But this potential employer will be most interested in how your knowledge and skills will translate into on-the-job know-how. Focus on the experiences that have prepared you for this position.
- Focus on everything but the job itself
It’s fine if the company “perks” have you psyched. The culture and benefits and the location – surrounded by awesome eateries – not to mention that cool coffee shop on the first floor. But none of these topics should dominate the interview conversation. You’ll make a much better impression if you focus on how you’ll give 110% to the job rather than drool over the vending machines.
- Forget about non-verbal communication
While interviews are mostly about talking, it’s crucial to be aware of the impression your body language makes. You want to come across as confident so don’t fidget or allow your eyes to dart around the room. Sit up straight and sit back rather than hover on the edge of your seat. You want to project enthusiasm so smile sincerely and focus on the conversation. Speak with “a smile in your voice.”
- Expect perfection
Even the best interview has its low points. The one question you dreaded the most, whose answer you stumbled over. The awkward silence when nary a coherent thought could find its way from your brain to your mouth. It happens to everyone at some point. So cut yourself some slack. If you go in accepting that something will probably not go exactly as you’d hoped or planned, you’re likely to be calmer and make fewer bloopers.
Stop by for next week’s post on key “do’s” for navigating successful job interviews.
At B. Loehr Staffing we are continually searching for the highest caliber candidates to become our employees. An interview with us might be that all-important first step in your new career. Don’t waste another minute. Contact us today.