Six Tips to Ace the Job Interview
Centennial College helps connect its students to jobs, which is why we're launching a special Career Week, happening February 8-12. Aside from the job fairs and networking opportunities present, we'll also be helping students learn essential skills during a series of special workshops.
Angelo di Marino knows a thing or two about job interviews. He works for Robert Half Technology, and specializes in recruiting and placing information technology professionals throughout the GTA. He seeks out qualified job seekers and places them with the clients that need them.
On Thursday, February 11, he'll be hosting "How to Ace the Interview," a workshop to explain how job interviews get you in the door, and walk students through preparing, dressing, and answering questions for an interview, both in person and over the phone. Here's a few tips he has about interviews, with more to be found at the presentation itself.
1) Do the research
According to Angelo, a common mistake interviewees make is not knowing enough about the organization you're interviewing at. Before even writing an application to a company, be sure to visit their web site, and search for any news or press regarding their latest development. If you can bring up what you've learned during an interview and relate it back to yourself, you'll look prepared and thoughtful.
2) Focus on achievements, not duties
This is a tricky one. When discussing previous jobs, don't simply talk about what you had to do there. For example, if you're an advertising writer, don't simply say that you were asked to write ads. Instead, focus on your successes, and what you achieved through your tasks. Going back to the advertising example, focus instead on the results of those ads. Did you increase the exposure of the business? Were they effective? That's what you discuss. When I was in college, I was told to have one particular "star story," where you went above and beyond your job, and be prepared to use that during an interview.
3) Think about a genuine weakness you possess
"What is your greatest weakness?" is a question every interviewee dreads. According to Angelo, the worst thing you can do is give a non-serious response, like, "I work too hard." At the same time, don't go into a rant about your worst qualities. Instead, come up with one legitimate weakness you have, and then follow it up with the steps you've taken to overcome it.
4) Always dress for the part
Like it or not, during an interview you will be judged on your appearance, so you need to make sure you're well-dressed and groomed, and match the environment of the company. If you're not sure what that environment is, dress formally, as it's better to show up overdressed. Angelo advises that you figure out a dress code during your company research. Corporate jobs call for a full suit, while more casual roles call for a simple dress pants and shirt combination.
5) How you answer is as important as what you say
Just as your appearance is important, so is how you answer your questions, as it shows how you act under pressure. Calmness, confidence and eye contact are three very important factors. If you're caught off-guard, take some time to think, or ask for clarification, rather than barreling into an answer unprepared.
6) Always follow up
Even if an interview goes perfectly, you can still make a huge mistake when it's over by not following up. According to Angelo, while thank-you notes by mail or snail mail are old fashioned, hiring managers like himself still like to receive them, and will set you apart from the masses. It's a little thing, but it can make a difference, and shows you're really interested in the position.
If you'd like to know more about acing your job interviews, be sure to attend the workshop, on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at Progress Campus, and check out our other career events.
By Anthony Geremia