Human resource professionals give recent college graduates low grades for their job interview behavior.
Some text, take calls, dress inappropriately, use casual language and exhibit unprofessional behavior during interviews in the 21st century.
Indeed, life has become more casual. My colleague’s advice to wear “Sunday go-to-meeting clothes” to a job interview would be completely lost on 18- to 34-year-olds.
Jaime Fail, vice president of the HR Policy Association, said, “The interview is still a traditional environment.”
Those who live by texting, tweeting and social media are finding the job interview situation very unfamiliar. They could benefit from interview advice I gave a generation ago.
Like many facets of life, success comes with preparation for the event.
Before the interview:
• Plan your physical appearance. Key words are being conservative about your body, grooming and clothing. No extremes. The old rule — wear a suit and tie — ain’t necessarily a rule in the 21st century.
It’s best to seek advice from someone who has been in workforce a while.
Mimic clothes worn by workers in their day-to-day work.
• Take pens, a note pad, several copies of your resume, a list of references and directions to the interview.
• Do your homework. Know the company, the industry and the job.
Look at company website. The absolute “no-no” is to ask, “What do you do here?”
• Prepare for possible questions.
Many examples are available. Make a list of questions you want to ask.
Practice answering and asking questions in a mock interview.
• Be on time.
During the interview:
• Be active and assertive
• Stick to your purpose to convey your interest and strong points.
• State your skills and provide examples to back up your claims.
• Ask questions.
• Listen to each question carefully.
• Do not leave the interview without knowing what the next step is in the selection process.
• Thank the interviewer and every person you met at the place of business.
After the interview:
• Send a thank-you note to the interviewer and any others that were helpful to you.
• Evaluate your performance. How did it go?
• After a reasonable time period follow up with the company to learn your status in the selection process.
What interviewers are looking for:
Interviewers are looking for interviewees who know something about the company, the industry and the job.
The questions interviewees ask reveal that they have done their homework and demonstrate interest in the job.
Interviewers expect applicants to be confident, friendly and enthusiastic.
• Career goals.
A hirable interviewee knows where they want to go and can express those goals. They know what the job involves.
The hirable interviewee will express their experience in terms of accomplishments and their skills in terms of examples.