By Rebekah Marin
Liberal Studies/English Major
In last week’s Student Dilemma column we examined the difficulties associated with choosing a field of study. As students, once that decision has been made, the next step in our professional lives usually includes getting a job, starting an internship, or beginning your journey into a career path. In order to be successful at securing any of the previously mentioned positions, an individual must be prepared for the interview process. Here to help you be the best interviewee you can be are three unusual, yet crucial aspects of the interview process explained.
The early bird gets the worm, but the overzealous bird tires himself out circling the garden all night in search of the first worm of the day. In other words, being early to an interview is important because it shows punctuality, but being too early tells the interviewer that you don’t have any other pressing commitments to attend to that day. That being said, being late is out of the question. If employers see that you’re late to an interview, they can assume that issues like punctuality will carry over into the workplace, and they can easily avoid that issue by someone who is already on time to the interview. According to the experts, being fifteen minutes early to an interview is the proper time frame, to show that you are someone who has other commitments, but is also punctual, and values the opportunity to have the interview. A second, but equally important part of interview etiquette is the presentation of your resume. Many people, myself included, have stressed over creating the perfect resume, but according to Forbes online, the best resumes are those that are precise and simple. Many employers are spending less time looking at your credentials on paper, and more time on the web looking into your more personal and private endeavors.
To avoid social media mayhem hindering your chances at scoring the position you want, be conscious of what you post on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To take that even further, be aware of what your friends and family post about you on their social media. Whatever pictures or statuses that are posted having to do with you are still a reflection of your personality to your potential employer. Regardless of how private you think your accounts are, anything an employer sees that sends up a red flag can impact the way they view your potential skills, abilities, and personality in the workplace. Refraining from posting those funny pictures you took at the bar last weekend can show the employer you understand that maintaining a professional social profile is something you are aware of and value. Staying away from posting the all-too-personal things on the previously mentioned forms of media doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use them at all, but one site to pay more attention to if you’re not already, is LinkedIn.
Like Facebook is generally used to connect friends and family to one another, LinkedIn’s purpose is to create a forum for networking professionals with other professionals and businesses. Today, more than ever, employers pay attention to the things that they can find about you through the use of the internet, and becoming a LinkedIn user is another way for the interviewer to see that you are professionally focused, well-rounded, and have qualities that the company is looking for.
As far as the actual interview process itself, an employer may ask questions like, “Do you have any questions for me?” or, “What would you do in a situation like this one?” The strongest interviewee will anticipate questions like these and be able to think on their feet, using their existing knowledge regarding the company and their own experience to produce well thought-out questions to ask the interviewer, and to respond thoroughly to situational “what-if” style inquiries. Preparations such as researching the company you could become a part of, what they do, how they function, and what the objectives are, are all ways to better equip yourself to prepare for questions that require thinking on your feet. If you don’t have questions for the interviewer it shows a lack of interest. A lack of preparation can translate into lack of care, interest, preparedness and initiative in the job as a whole, proving to the interviewer that they should dismiss you as a candidate for the job, and find someone more interested in the position. In becoming prepared for an interview and the questions they may ask make sure not to become robotic. That is, make sure your personality still is noticeable, and it doesn’t feel like you’re just regurgitating what you think the interviewer wants to hear.
In conclusion, there are a number of different aspects to consider when preparing for an interview, and those who take into consideration the important parts of an interview that have been laid out above should feel confident in all areas of the interview process.