So you just landed the big interview you have been waiting for, now what? This is your dream job, and you are the perfect candidate for this opportunity… but how can you convey that feeling to the person you will be interviewing with?
Luckily for you this quick checklist will get you set up for success with a few quick tips to make you look, sound and feel your best on interview day.
1) Company Research
Now that you have the interview time scheduled, time to hit the computer and get some research done on your future employer! Basic knowledge of a company you are interviewing with is expected of any applicant so you should be ready to answer questions like “Why do you want to work here” and “What do you know about this industry?” without hesitation. Be sure to research the industry the particular company is in and exactly what this company does. What do they sell? What service do they offer? What will your role be in helping them reach their goals? After some background research it is time to take it a bit further, look up the company in the news and see what everyone is talking about. It’s always a plus when you can strike up conversation about the company’s recent fundraiser or the big merger that just happened. There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to interview prep.
2) Dress for success
When debating what to wear for your interview, remember that this is the first time your future employee will be meeting with you. Be sure to choose a simple and appropriate outfit for the position you are interviewing for. You want your look to be a confident one, but not distracting, so avoid loud colors and over the top suits. Go with a simple combination like a grey jacket and light blue shirt.
3) Learn about the job
You are being hired for a specific reason to fill a particular role the company has a need for. Before you interview, get some research done on the day-to-day tasks required of the position you are interviewing for. Be familiar with terminology you will be using and make sure you have a really good grasp of what is expected of you. After you know all of this, ask yourself how can my skills and abilities help this company with their particular need? Also, If you know friends or colleagues who may work for this company or have a similar job, be sure to ask them for a little insight on what it’s like to work for XYZ Company. Having solid knowledge of the opportunity being presented to you will go a long way in the interview process.
4) Practice, Practice, Practice
Unless you are Allen Iverson, getting some practice interviews under your belt before the real thing will make a big impact on you effectiveness during the interview. Rehearsing practice questions and scenarios will ensure that you are ready for anything and your answers will sound smooth and confident. Below is a list of common interview questions. Be sure to have a solid answer to each of these questions and you will roll through your interview with ease.
1. So, tell me a little about yourself.
2. Why did you leave your last job?
3. Tell me what you know about this company.
4. Why do you want to work at X Company?
5. If your previous co-workers were here, what would they say about you?
6. Where else have you applied?
7. What motivates you to do a good job?
8. What’s your greatest strength?
9. What’s your biggest weakness?
10. What are you looking for salary wise?
11. Tell me a suggestion you have made that was implemented.
12. Has anything ever irritated you about people you’ve worked with?
13. Tell me about any issues you’ve had with a previous boss.
14. Why should I hire you?
15. Finally, do you have any questions to ask me?
Your excellent resume landed you the interview and your skills speak for themselves, why does the employer need to meet with you in person before hiring you? 80% of employers will tell you that personality is the number one deciding factor when choosing candidates. You could be the most skilled applicant in the field but if you are not a fit on their team, they may pass you over and pick the person with adequate skills but a great personality. This is where confidence comes into play; you don’t have to be over the top, but a confident and friendly personality will start the interview off on the right foot and help keep conversations light and fun. Answer questions with an upbeat attitude and make positive statements throughout the interview. Make frequent eye contact, smile, be polite and most of all BE RELAXED. If you are confident in yourself and have a relaxed and upbeat attitude while interviewing, the job will be yours in no time!
- Mike Mercado, Resource Manager at KavaliroRead More...
Being a recent graduate, I can understand the pressures of solidifying a job before college ends. The stress of post-grad life threatens you, especially when your parents say, “Congratulations! We love you! Here is your car payment, school loans, telephone bill, rent, utilities, etc.” Even though you have worked your whole way through college and you have finally made it to the end, joining in the real world can be a scary thought. If you can find a job immediately after school ends, the threat of the real world doesn’t have to be so scary. Below are some things that you can do to make finding a job easier.
Networking is something you will hear your parents, teachers, bosses and friends tell you to do. There is that common understanding that more people get jobs from WHO they know, not WHAT they know. Attend guest speaker presentations, take teachers out to lunch, and network as much as you can. It is all about building relationships. These relationships will help you to obtain a job in the future.
2. Career Fairs
College is all about prepping you for the future. Your college will be holding career day or career fairs throughout the year. Attend these early! Even sophomore year you can land an awesome internship from attending career fairs. If you aren’t looking for internships or jobs, then attend to NETWORK.
Try to do at least two internships before graduating college. This builds your credit and reputation in the working world. Who knows, maybe the company you intern for will want to hire you full time after!
Make sure you start the hunt early. Start exploring career goals/objectives early on toward sophomore year. This will give you the advantage of knowing who to network with. Do some research online and apply, apply, apply! Make sure you apply to jobs that you are a solid fit for. Internships, externships, shadowing, etc. will all help build your resume.
-Kaitlin O’Connell, Resource Manager at KavaliroRead More...
Bill Peppler from Kavaliro speaks regarding the high unemployment rates in Orlando and the ways to find a job. He recognizes specific industries that aren’t hurting and the importance of hitting those markets now.Read More...
1. Communications Skills (listening, verbal, written).
Being a clear, concise and effective communicator is critical in the workplace. This skill is evaluated based upon your initial interaction with the hiring manager. Think of this as your “first impression” skill.
Having the ability to listen, write, speak effectively and facilitate communication is absolutely critical in whatever profession you are engaged in. The bottom line is that if you can communicate well – and have the ability to showcase this – you have a leg-up on the competition.
2. Analytical & Research Skills.
Every potential employer is seeking employees who exemplify improvement. No work environment is perfect, so this is an ongoing opportunity to showcase your skill. Your ability to assess a situation, identify potential solutions and then execute accordingly is critical in the workplace. This skill is heightened if you are able to view the situation from all perspectives.
3. Self Motivation.
Be proactive! Put forward your ideas and solutions. Every employer seeks a candidate who is reliable, takes initiative and works hard – so be ready to take action at any time.
Showcase your work ethic. Demonstrate that you can work without supervision and fulfill your commitments. Show up on time and be someone your employer can depend on. Exceed your job description.
Work confidently within a group and let your voice be heard. Maintain effective communication and a cohesive bond between your coworkers. Because so many opportunities involve working in a group setting, you must have the ability to work well with others while maintaining professionalism.
5. Technical Skills.
These are what you need to actually perform your work. In today’s world, most jobs require an understanding of computer hardware and software; including e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets. This skill set can translate across the job board, but varies depending on the job.
6. Strength of Character.
It is important to maintain your self-identity in the workplace. You need to stand up for yourself, defend your ideas and opinions and stand by what you believe in. Employers want leaders who can set an example to the rest of the employees so that they too can act with strength of character.
7. Interpersonal Skills.
These skills are a way for employers to see how you relate to other people within your team as well as people outside of the organization. This can be measured by how you handle yourself in stressful situations, how you treat people and what your level of emotional intelligence is. Given that we spend majority of our day in the workplace, it is crucial that you possess the ability to relate to your coworkers, inspire others and minimize conflict.
This deals with your ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks while setting priorities and adapting to changing conditions. Employers desire a strong but flexible team player who thrives in an environment where they are asked to effectively prioritize and juggling multiple tasks.
This deals with your ability to effectively plan, organize, and execute within an allotted timeframe. It also involves goal-setting. Employers seek a results-driven achiever with a strong sense of detail orientation and time management.
10. Problem Solving Skills.
The key to handling problems in a professional manner is not to let your emotions get in the way. Employers value an employee they can trust and do not have to micromanage constantly. Analyze the problem and examine the underlying causes before coming up with a solution and the means to achieving it.
Showcase your skills! Look for ways to display the skills that employers want during every step of your job search. This includes your resume, your cover letter, interviews, in your follow-up and even on social networking sites. Improving these skills is never-ending, so continue to build on them once you start your new opportunity.
-Meredith Findling, Resource Manager at Kavaliro
One of the most overlooked pieces of applying for a job is the effectiveness of a cover letter. Candidates spend most of their time beefing up their resumes, while putting cover letters on the backburner or throwing them out entirely. This is one of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make. Take advantage of adding a cover letter to your application.
Resumes focus on tangible skill sets or experience. A cover letter helps paint the whole picture. The majority of hiring managers will tell you that a personality fit is considered equally to someone’s qualifications on paper. Now, how can you illustrate those intangibles on your resume? Simple answer: you can’t. This is the purpose of adding a cover letter.
Here are a few tips on an effective cover letter:
1. Be specific. You should not write a generic cover letter. Tailor every cover letter to the company and position you are applying for.
2. Formal vs. Too Formal. The business environment has changed and so has the language you use in business. Be formal but steer away from the old school ways of doing so. Be conversational.
3. Tangible vs. Intangible. This is the time to tell them the type of person you are and how hardworking you may be. Complete the entire picture of who you are and sell yourself. If you are searching for specifics in culture or job duties, put that in there. This will allow you to interview them before they interview you. Every position you apply for is not going to be a perfect fit for what you are looking for.
4. Referrals. Your cover letter gives you the opportunity to name drop. If someone referred you, put it in there.
5. How to End. Always put a date, time, and avenue to follow up your application. This prepares the hiring manager for your follow-up and also illustrates how responsible and persistent you are. You would be amazed how many candidates actually put this in their resume but do not follow through with it. It’s a double sided sword. Follow up!
Cover letters should be 1 page in length. Everything should be positive. Do not forget to proof read.
-Kurt Peters, Resource Manager at KavaliroRead More...
Whether you’re heading to a job fair or preparing for an interview, making a first impression is important if you want to land a great job. As the saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a first impression!” Here are my top tips for making sure that the impression you leave in a potential employer’s mind is a good one!
• Arrive Early: It is imperative to arrive to your interview at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. This shows the employer that you’re prepared.
• Always Bring a Resume: Print several copies in case you meet with more than one hiring manager. It is better to be over prepared going into your first interview.
• Dress the Part: Premium appearance is always a must for a first impression with an employer. Research the company’s culture and make sure to wear the appropriate Business Attire (in most cases, business suits).
• Shake Hands Firmly: Having a weak or mild handshake doesn’t give employers the impression that you’re very confident. Instead, shake hands firmly, don’t pull away too quickly, and look the person in the eye as you say “hello.”
• Eye Contact: Good eye contact conveys confidence and enthusiasm.
• Facial Expression: Smile. Imagine yourself as an interviewer meeting people all day. Walk in with a friendly and energetic face.
• Energy Level: Show enthusiasm. You want this job!
• Smile: You might be nervous, but try to remember to smile, especially as you greet potential employers.
• Posture: Maintain good posture throughout the interview. Sit up straight, relax, cross your feet at your ankles or place feet firmly on the ground, don’t slouch or rock back in your chair.
• Speak Up: When asked questions, speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard. When people are nervous, they tend to speak more quickly, so make sure you are conscious about how quickly you’re speaking and slow down if necessary.
• Don’t Chew Gum!
Make sure that your first impression lasts by cleaning up your web presence prior to your interview. If an employer likes you, they might do some research on you when they get home, and if you’ve posted a bunch of non-professional pictures to social media sites, you could do a lot of damage to the first impression you have just made in person!
Post Interview Tips:
Always send a thank you note! This is important, not just for the sake of good manners, but to get the job. If time constraints make it difficult to send a hand-written note, at least send an e-mail, written fax, or make a phone call and tell the interviewer, “Thank You.”
Follow-up Phone Calls
Before leaving an interview, ask the employer to give you some idea when they will be making a hiring decision. If you haven’t heard anything after one week, phone the interviewer and inquire whether the position has been filled. If a decision has not been made, now is a good time to let the prospective employer know that you are still very interested in the job. Many employers hire the most enthusiastic applicant out of a group of qualified candidates.
- Katie Kennedy, Resource Manager at KavaliroRead More...
John Mahony, COO of Kavaliro, gives advice on successful interview practices. Mahony suggests coming prepared and leaving enough time for traffic emergencies and other delays. However, he emphasizes the importance of not arriving too early, thereby putting time pressures on the employer you are there to see. Upon the conclusion of the interview Mahony encourages a handwritten follow-up thank you note to really make an impact.Read More...
“Who gives out thank you notes anymore,” my friend once said to me. I realized how strongly this topic is debated as I finished writing my thank you notes to all of the employers who I had just interviewed with. “Just write an e-mail,” my friend said. This brought on a deep conversation as to what is the better option. Hand written notes or e-mails? Which one will the employer like better? Which one will better my chances in getting the position?
Many people find themselves in the debate between how to express appreciation for the opportunity to have interviewed with a company. In today’s electronically connected and fast-paced world, most people believe that an e-mail is the best, most efficient way to say “thank you.” On the other hand, some believe the hand written thank you note is a more genuine and sincere approach.
Today e-mail seems to be the number one communication tool throughout society. People would rather e-mail or IM than call or walk down the hall to speak to one another. This has changed the way relationships are formed and how people interact. Additionally, most people now have Smartphones, which conveniently have the ability to directly import e-mails.
After researching the topic, reading articles, interviewing management teams and asking around to friends and family, I have come to a conclusion: Everyone has their own personal preference for sending “thank you” messages. I believe that choosing one or the other reflects partly on ones personality and beliefs. Each person I spoke with mentioned the pros and cons of each option. Some had strong feelings, and many said either or would do just fine. It is clear that different people prefer different methods, but there was an overall belief that as long as a person sends a “thank you” message either method is fine.
What everyone should take away from this debate is that, after interviewing, you should always send some sort of “thank you” message. The employer will most likely be pleased and view the message as an expression of interest in the opportunity. Whether this “thank you” is in the form of an e-mail or a hand-written letter, the interviewer will surely appreciate it. While it seems that there is no unilaterally correct method of thanking an interviewer, one thing is for sure: The debate over sending electronic or hand-written “thank you” will remain.
Some personal insight from the Kavaliro Team
“Send thank you notes or e-mails to your interviewers. Thank them for their time and express your excitement about the position and any important take-aways you had from the interview.”
“Always follow up your interview with a quick e-mail thanking your potential employer for their time and expressing your excitement about the position. It may also be a good idea to send a personalized note card thanking the interviewer if you have a physical address for the business.”
“Hand written. Anyone can send an e-mail. It takes no time and can seem impersonal. To take the time to actually write and mail a thank you shows a more genuine appreciation than an e-mail. We could e-mail every client, contractor and internal employee a Happy Birthday or anniversary message, but we don’t. We take the time to write one out and sign it to make it personal and let that person know they were worth our time.”
- Kaitlin O’Connell, Resource Manager at KavaliroRead More...
Applying for any job
There isn’t any point wasting your time applying for jobs that you’re not qualified for. It’s a waste of time, energy and effort. Make sure to focus your job search and apply to jobs that are a match for your skill set and experience.
Mistakes on your resume or cover letter
Make sure to triple-check your spelling and grammar when sending information out to employers. Keep in mind that hiring managers will be seeing this and first impressions are important. It’s crucial to make sure everything is grammatically correct, or you risk the chance of immediate disqualification from consideration.
Make sure you are organized in your job search
As a recruiter, I have spoken to candidates that don’t even remember what job they have applied to with my company. This can really trip you up if you don’t have an organized list of the opportunities that you have already applied for.
Always research a company prior to the interview
I send my candidates the company website before the interview and encourage them to educate themselves. With all of the competition out there, it is hard enough to get an interview so preparation is a step that should not be over-looked. Look on the website for company details, products they produce, company history, and knowledge of c-level executives doesn’t hurt either. If you walk into an interview and don’t know anything about the company, it will look like all you want is a paycheck instead of a career.
Best foot forward during the interview
If you are fortunate enough to get an interview, always remember that there are most likely around 30 candidates that didn’t get an interview – maybe more.
Have a list of questions for your interviewer. Remember that you are interviewing company as well. It looks good to an interviewer if you have about three to five questions to ask.(Where does your company want be in the next 5-10 years; Where do I fit in this scenario?)
As much as you may dislike your former employer or boss, do not speak negatively about them.
Remember that the hiring manager is looking for a great fit for the team as well as a skill set, so if you complain about ex-managers or your past job, this might be a sign to the manager of things to come for her/him.
As much as you may want a job, please remember that managers are interviewing multiple candidates for one position. It is okay to send a follow up email thanking them for their time, but do not continually email or call the manager asking for feedback.
Times have changed in the job market, so remember the old cliché:
You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
- Angel Diaz, Resource Manager at KavaliroRead More...
We sat down with Ryan Kahn, Career Coach for Dream Careers, Inc. and star of MTV’s Hired, to ask him for some advice on finding mentors and standing out in the hiring process.
How would you recommend students to go about finding mentors? And how do you ask someone to be your mentor?
Mentorships are a great way to learn and grow in an industry and I would strongly encourage everyone to have at least one. Sometimes the hardest part of getting a mentor is just building up the courage to ask but once that is out of the way the opportunities are endless.
What I’d recommend is set up your personal “Mentor List.” Have the first on that list someone who seems far out of the reach of your network but you admire their career, for example the CEO of Warner Bros. Then the next five on the list will be within you’re extended network for example alums of your school, local business owners and friends of family. Round out the list with four people within your personal network in example your favorite professor, boss, family member or friend. Now that you have the list its time to contact each of them… OK I know you’re thinking how in the world am I going to contact the CEO of Warner Bros, well I’ll tell you later on in this interview!
For each person you reach out to write out a captivating message which is clear and to the point of who you are, why you respect them and their career and then close with asking them to be your mentor. It all needs to start with a hook in the subject line, one that I’ve found to work great is “You were 21 once right?” a subject like that brings them back to when they were your age and helps to level the playing field.
Now that you know what to say, how do you contact them? I would recommend (in order) via phone, email, hand written letter, or through their social network page. Some people on your list you may have their phone number or need to go to their companies website for their contact info but others may be tough to find… that’s where you’ll need to be creative. You ever notice people at the same company seem to have the same email address? Well that’s how you’ll get to who you want to contact. For example if you want to email someone at Warner Bros their emails are set up First.Last@WarnerBros.com just plug in their name and send! Now I’m not recommending you email blast or spam CEO’s but I want you to take any chance to seek out great advice and find a mentor that can help you be successful.
Let me know if this works for you? @RyanKahnHired
Who was one of your mentors?
One great mentor for me was my teacher Randy Jackson who taught my Artist & Repertoire class. Despite his hectic schedule filming the show American Idol and a newly released book with press interviews around the world including Oprah; Randy still took the time out of his day to be at our class to teach his students. His work ethic was definitely an inspiration for me and taught me tons in my career.
What are 5 strategies to stand out in the hiring process?
A great strategy is pick out the handful of positions you are truly qualified for and put all of your efforts and resources into those specific openings. Often I see people blasting their resume out to every job opening online. You’ll find more success with focused efforts.
These days internships are crucial to landing a job out of college. The more experience and contacts you make, the better you are positioning yourself for your future.
It is all about knowing someone who works at the company that can get your foot in the door. Ask family, friends, anyone you can. If no luck there, don’t worry. You can take it into your own hands by being active on the company’s social media pages or seeking out people who work for the company on Facebook and LinkedIn to message them directly and tactfully. Still no luck? Try hanging out at the coffee shop or lunch spot across from the office — you never know, one of their employees may be in line behind you.
Think ‘Inside the Box.’ Try mailing in your resume to the hiring manager using an empty shipping box filled with just one copy of your resume. That’s one way to get noticed!
Don’t be afraid to follow up with hiring managers. Often job seekers fail to follow up because they are afraid of rejection. Be persistent and make personal connections, as it may land you your dream career.
Career expert Ryan Kahn is a Career Coach for Dream Careers, Inc. and star of MTV’s Hired; the 20-episode documentary series helping recent grads land the job of their dreams. Kahn has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Star Magazine and is author of Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad. His intimate working relationships with industry leaders makes him the go-to expert for dream jobs.Read More...