We’ve all heard advice about being prepared for an interview. We know to do our homework on the company; know the individuals we’ll be interviewing with and their roles. We think through situational questions and our responses. We’re prepared to tie our experience to the responsibilities of the role we’re interviewing for. And above all else, we come prepared with questions! But do we go past that in our preparation? How often do we think about doing our own analysis of the company; our own interview of them, and how to spot a great boss? I can tell you from personal experience, and some record of job hopping, that it comes with practice. Not to suggest you have to job hop to figure it out – that’s me learning from my mistakes. Hopefully, you can take this advice as you look towards your next, and perhaps last, interview!
How do you spot a great boss and the right fit for you? I’ve tried to simplify what I’ve learned and heard from many mentors over the years it four simple categories.
References are a common job search dilemma, especially for those that are already employed. You can’t ask your current boss to be a reference unless you’re moving, or facing a lay-off, downsizing, or a merger, or other obvious situations. So who to ask for a reference if you can’t ask your boss?
This is one of the many reasons why it is important to stay connected with former bosses and supervisors; keep the line of communication open so they can serve as references in the future.
You’ve applied for a job and were just called for an interview. You’re excited, but you can already feel the butterflies in your stomach. Do you believe in yourself and your abilities to succeed in this potential new job? Even if you are lacking in self-confidence, you can take action before an interview to give yourself a much-needed mental boost. Do a little research before you sit down for the interview. Prepping will help you go into the interview with increased confidence and poise.
1. Inform yourself about the potential employer. Google the organization to see if they’ve been in the news lately. Is the organization non-profit, privately owned or publicly traded? Check out their company website, examine their mission statement and goals. Look at their career section for information about benefits and company policies that might guide your answer to “Why do you want to work for our organization?” Make sure you understand what the business really does before you make your way to the interview.
2. Find out everything you can about the position, and this starts when you first apply. Keep track of positions you’ve applied for – you can do this simply thru AgCareers.com. Log into your free job seeker account and apply to positions; your applications will then be saved and viewable at any time under your “application history.”
Your resume impressed the employer and you are now on to the next step, a face to face interview. Time to prepare yourself: you’ve gone through the processes of researching the company, analyzing the job description, practicing questions and have even picked out the perfect outfit to wear, but have you really put much thought into what you are going to bring with you to the interview? This may seem like a silly question, but many people forget to take into consideration the appropriate and inappropriate items to bring with you to the interview. Don’t stress! Below is a list of items that that should help you through the process.
Extra copy of your resume
It is easy to assume that your interviewer already has a copy of your resume and you may be thinking this is not necessary. Never assume that there will not be additional people in the interview than expected. Not every person may need a copy, but it never hurts to have them on hand.
You’re running out the door for an interview, starting your first day at work, or getting ready for a big presentation on the job and notice a major wardrobe malfunction- ARGHHHH, what now?!? You aren’t a skilled seamstress and don’t have much time. NO FEAR! You can overcome many wardrobe emergencies with simple fixes, using things you have around home or the office.
Grab a twist tie from your bread bag to temporarily reattach a button. If the button is loose but still hanging on, dab on some clear nail polish.
The stitching has come loose on your pant and your hem is hanging down- fix it with some double-stick tape…voila!
Not the best timing for a stuck zipper! Rub some Vaseline, lip balm or even pencil on the zipper to work it loose.
At the end of the interview, when it’s time to ask questions, anything’s okay, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Asking certain questions could cause your potential employer to second guess you, even if you’ve just given a shining interview.
Julie Le Suer, Senior Director at Quality Placement Authority, shares her personal input for candidates and what they should leave off the table following an interview.
1) What would my starting salary be? How about benefits?
From Le Sueur: “This one is the most obvious—a candidate should never bring up compensation or benefits at any point until the interviewer/employer does. The only exception would be if the company is getting ready to make an offer (the candidate should make clear at this point what their compensation expectations are in a diplomatic way). If a candidate brings up comp/benefits prematurely, it will often kill an interview in the interviewer’s mind right then and there.
As young professionals enter the workforce they may not have much experience with any interview that is different from the classic behavioral interview. The lunch interview is quickly becoming more popular in the corporate world as it has a more relaxed atmosphere, and both parties are in a more comfortable setting. Although many may not yet be familiar with this interview, here are a few quick tips to prepare anyone for this type of interview.
AgCareers.com presented a free webinar for job seekers about Acing Today’s Interview. Sponsored by Ag 1 Source, presenter Mike Koenecke discussed how interviewing has changed over the years, the different types of interviews, key preparation, making a good first impression and following up.
Mike discussed first impressions making the difference in the actual interview. The interviewer will develop their impression of you within the first ten seconds of meeting. Before heading out for your interview, ask yourself the following question about your interview look, “What would my mother say?”
AHH the horror! Interviews can be terrifying for potential candidates, and at times, embarrassing moments occur. We featured an article in our Canadian Employer Guide last year entitled “Interview Nightmares” in which we heard from our social media followers about mortifying interviews they had had in the past. This time around, I connected with a few of our clients who regularly interview candidates about some of the more interesting interviews they’ve conducted. Read through these tell-tale stories and don’t make the same mistakes!
“A few serious deal breakers happen even before an interview because I consider the 90 seconds I have with a student at a career fair to be their first interview. I will absolutely not pass a student through to the actual interview round that approaches my booth and asks me who CPS is and what I can do for them. I’m not sure what kind of reverse psychology they are trying to run on me but I stop listening immediately after that point. If you cannot take the 2 minutes to google who we are and what we do, you do not have the drive that we are looking for in intern candidates.” – Deanna Flynn – Regional Recruiter for Crop Production Services
You made it through the interview—whew! Now the hardest part is waiting. But hold on—before you just sit back and wait to hear from an employer, you need to courteously send a follow-up or thank you note.
Thanking an Employer
If you don’t thank an employer for their time, you likely won’t hear back from them at all. It’s common courtesy to send a thank you letting them know that you appreciated their consideration of you as a potential candidate.
And it’s important to get this thank you to them FAST.
Here are some things to include that will impress your interviewer: