Let’s be honest. No one actually likes job searching or interviewing. Both are awkward tasks where you have to “sell” yourself to people whom you have never met before. Sounds like fun, right?
Luckily, the process isn’t just annoying for job seekers—many hiring managers say the worst part of their job is sifting through bland resumes and sitting through boring interviews. So, how do we make this process a little more enjoyable and snag a job at the same time?
That exact question was the basis of conversation at a recent employer panel held at Minnesota School of Business- Elk River this month. The panel of five hiring experts included Michael Baker from Robert Half Legal, Jason Donahue and Dennis Carter from Mille Lacs Academy, Shari Velazques from Express Employment, and Amy Nelson from Accurate Home Care.
The panelists shared these nine tips and tricks for getting the job and making the experience more enjoyable:
- Be on time – This means not showing up late AND not showing up too early. A hiring manager’s day is busy, so when you show up 30 minutes early it messes up his or her entire day. On the flip-side, showing up late makes for a bad first impression. It doesn’t matter if the bus was late, you couldn’t find your left shoe or traffic was crazy—no excuses. Arriving 5-10 minutes earlier than your appointment time is the acceptable norm.
- Be confidently humble – Confidence is a necessary attribute to display in an interview setting; however, there is a fine line between confident and cocky. You need to show that you believe in yourself, but also remember you’re not the best thing since sliced bread.
- Get back to the basics; it’s about the handshake – Believe it or not, this old rule still applies. You must have a firm, confident handshake at the beginning and end of an interview. Wimpy handshake = more job searching.
- The first 30 seconds is key – You literally have about 15-30 seconds into the interview to get the interviewer engaged—that’s it. Say something uninteresting here, and you will lose their attention. They are now mentally making a grocery list for the night.
- Have a tailored resume – The resume is the deciding factor on getting an interview. If you use the job listing to tailor your resume to that company’s specific job, you’re in. Well, almost. Your resume should also have an excellent professional profile, utilize bullet points for scan-ability, contain zero typos, and fit on one page.
- Be honest and be yourself – If you don’t have a specific skill or software knowledge they are looking for, don’t say that you do. Get caught in a lie and it’s game over. Plus, just be you. If your personalities conflict during the interview it’s likely the company isn’t a good fit for you—meaning you won’t stay there long and most days will be miserable.
- Get the interviewer to do most of the talking – Traditionally, the interviewee is the one who does the majority of the talking; however, by flipping this you show interest in the interviewer and the company. Don’t drill them, but ask naturally inquisitive questions—people love talking about themselves!
- Don’t have experience? Get it – Most companies want to hire someone who has previous experience doing at least some pieces of the job to be filled. Find an internship, volunteer, or job shadow someone. The key is you need to get yourself into a building to start making connections and performing tasks so that you have something to put on your resume.
- Bring some humor into the room – Like the first paragraph said, hiring managers don’t enjoy the interview process either, so lighten the mood and gain their attention with a little humor. Just make sure it’s work-appropriate.
Follow all of these tips and you’re sure to snag your next job!