Whether you’re a millennial just starting out in your career, or you have some experience under your belt, chances are,  you have gone through the interview process.  For those new to the workforce, job interviews may seem like a dubious form of torture that one needs to endure in order to get money to pay down student loans. Truth is, interviews are part of the job hunt and really are nothing to be afraid of. The key is preparing for the interview. In fact, there is a method to doing well in a job interview process. Here are a few tips to owning the interview and landing the gig.

Be on time to the job interview

There’s a reason why the saying “the early bird gets the worm” exists. A good rule of thumb is to arrive about 10 to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled interview. This helps in two ways. First, if there is any additional paperwork you need to take care of before speaking with the hiring manager, you can take the extra time to do so. Secondly, it gives you some wiggle room just in case you get lost trying to find the office or building. Hey, it happens to the best of us. When applicants are on time, it signifies to the potential employer that they’re engaged and have a genuine interest in the position. Plus, it’s just a great way to set the tone of the job interview.

Body Language

While Millennials are poised to be the most educated generation, it has been said that Gen Y lacks in the soft skills department. Not to worry, these are traits that can be learned if one puts in the time. It’s important because the way you carry yourself gives major indicators to your peers and future employers. You want to leave a positive, lasting impression on your hiring manager both consciously and subconsciously. Body language is a huge component to the job interview process. When greeting the interviewer, give a polite handshake and use eye contact. During the interview, sit up straight and position yourself directly to the hiring manager as it signals that they have your full attention. Refrain from crossing your arms as it indicates that your guard is up. Using hand gestures while you speak animates your dialogue all the while creating a shared open space. These cues are a catalyst for a successful interview.

Do your research

Look at it this way; would you take a final without studying first? The same ideology goes with a job interview. One of the biggest faux pas a candidate can make is not knowing about the position or the company they are interviewing for. Companies want to know that applicants have done their due diligence and are bringing their A game to the interview table, so it’s important to have some working knowledge about the company. Before the interview, research the company’s history. Learn about their core values, mission, and what they’re looking for in potential new hires. Not only does this prepare you for the job interview, it also provides you some insight as to whether or not you may fit into the company culture. Sure, landing a job is important– making sure you’ll thrive in the company is even more so.

Play to your strengths

Applicants fresh out of college are most likely not going to have a significant amount of work experience under their belt, so it’s important that these individuals know how to market themselves in front of a potential employer. If the position calls for a “go-getter marketing associate”, highlight a time where you went the extra mile making something happen. This could be a school project, internship, or part time job that you held. Align your skill set to what the company is seeking. This helps employers determine if you match up to their requirements for the position.

Ask questions

There are multiple benefits when candidates ask questions during the interview. It shows that you’re paying attention and are engaged in the process. It helps you better understand the position and the company overall which will help you figure out if the position is a good fit. Don’t be afraid to ask about room for growth, benefits, or job duties. Remember, the interview goes both ways and it’s not solely about you selling yourself to the company– the company needs to woo you, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, the average shelf life of an employee was approximately 4.6 years. So if you’re looking to stick with a company for the long haul, it’s important that the relationship is mutually beneficial.

End the job interview on a good note

At the conclusion of the interview, summarize your enthusiasm to become part of the team. Let them know that if hired, you want to hit the ground running. During this phase would be a good time to ask about the next steps and to find out if it is appropriate to follow up after the job interview. Also be sure to thank the hiring manager for meeting with you. Leave with a warm and sincere parting to give the manager a lasting impression.

The hiring process is the gateway to start your working career. Everyone has to go through them, but they don’t have to be difficult or awkward. Prepare yourself with these steps and you will wow companies in no time at all.

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Taryn Barnes


Los Angeles

Taryn Barnes is a freelance writer and blogger obsessed with HR, Millennial culture, work life balance, and all things tech.

All posts by Taryn Barnes

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