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Job Searching 101 Sharpening Your Interview Skills

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Job Searching 101 Sharpening Your Interview Skills

  1. 1. Job Searching 101: Sharpening Your Interview Skills January 26, 2008 Presenter: Donna Brice, Director
  2. 2. What We Will Cover in this Workshop <ul><li>Prior To the Interview </li></ul><ul><li>First Impressions </li></ul><ul><li>Your Attire </li></ul><ul><li>What to Wear, Professional Men </li></ul><ul><li>What to Wear, Professional Women </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Professional Attire </li></ul><ul><li>What Not to Wear to an Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Body Language </li></ul><ul><li>Overcoming Interview Jitters </li></ul><ul><li>The Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Interview Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Post Interview </li></ul><ul><li>The Job Offer </li></ul><ul><li>Interview Resources </li></ul>
  3. 3. Prior to the Interview <ul><li>Do your homework. Research the company beforehand so that you can showcase that knowledge during the interview. </li></ul><ul><li>Know where you’re going. Make sure to find out where the office is and how to get there. How long will it take you to get there. MapQuest directions. </li></ul><ul><li>First Impressions. Take the time to prepare your clothing ahead of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Rehearse beforehand. Prior to your interview, prepare answers to common questions the interviewer is likely to ask. </li></ul><ul><li>Secure your references. Find at least three key people who are willing to serve as your professional references. </li></ul>
  4. 4. First Impressions <ul><li>Job interview first impressions can make or break your chances of getting a job offer. The recruiter will make judgments about you in those first few seconds. </li></ul><ul><li>Here are 3 factors they'll be considering. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Appearance Are your clothes professional? Are they clean? Do they fit well? Are your nails clean and tidy? Or bitten and scruffy? Posture : are you sitting / standing confidently or slouching? This might make them think you're either too nervous or too laid back. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Handshake Your handshake is one of the most important parts of a first impression. A firm (but not vice-like) handshake, good eye contact and a relaxed smile give you a confident start. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smile There are two elements to a smile: Good, relaxed eye contact. A relaxed, confident smile. It doesn't matter whether or not you show your teeth. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Your Attire <ul><li>Before you even think about going on an interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire and everything fits correctly. </li></ul><ul><li>Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don't have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview. </li></ul><ul><li>If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners before and after an interview, so they are ready for next time. </li></ul><ul><li>Clean and polish your shoes. </li></ul>
  6. 6. What to Wear, Professional Men <ul><li>Suit (solid color - navy or dark grey) </li></ul><ul><li>Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit) </li></ul><ul><li>Belt </li></ul><ul><li>Tie </li></ul><ul><li>Dark socks, conservative leather shoes </li></ul><ul><li>Little or no jewelry </li></ul><ul><li>Neat, professional hairstyle </li></ul><ul><li>Limit the aftershave </li></ul><ul><li>Neatly trimmed nails </li></ul><ul><li>Portfolio or briefcase </li></ul>
  7. 7. Sample Men’s Attire
  8. 8. What to Wear, Professional Women <ul><li>Suit, skirt or pants or blazer (navy, black or dark grey) </li></ul><ul><li>The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinated blouse </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative shoes </li></ul><ul><li>Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets) No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry </li></ul><ul><li>Professional hairstyle </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral pantyhose </li></ul><ul><li>Keep make-up and perfume light </li></ul><ul><li>Neatly manicured clean nails </li></ul><ul><li>Portfolio or briefcase </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sample Women’s Attire
  10. 10. Sample Non-Professional Attire When you're interviewing for a non-professional level position (in a store or restaurant, for example) business casual attire is usually appropriate. It is always important to be neat, tidy, and well-groomed and to present a positive image to the employer.
  11. 11. What not to Wear to an Interview <ul><li>Flip-flops or sneakers . </li></ul><ul><li>Underwear that is visible . Don't wear any underwear that shows - even if your bra straps match your top or your thong doesn't show above your pants. </li></ul><ul><li>Shorts or jeans </li></ul><ul><li>Skirts that are too short. </li></ul><ul><li>Pants that are too low-rise, too tight or too long. </li></ul><ul><li>Blouses that are too low-cut or too short - don't show your cleavage or your belly. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Sample What not to Wear
  13. 13. Body Language <ul><li>Body language makes up 80% of our communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Handshake : </li></ul><ul><li>Wait for the interviewer to initiate the handshake (You are too aggressive if you initiate the handshake). </li></ul><ul><li>Your hands are clean, warm and reasonably free of perspiration. </li></ul><ul><li>Firm, two to three shakes. </li></ul><ul><li>Use only one hand and put your hand all the way into the interviewer's hand, with the palm up (You may be seen aggressive if the palm faces down). </li></ul><ul><li>Facial Signals : </li></ul><ul><li>Carry a warm and natural smile. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep eye contact, but don't stare. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid pursed lips, faked cough, frowning, looking sideways or peering over your glasses (These signals may send the message that you are nervous or arrogant). </li></ul><ul><li>Nod slowly. Rapid nodding sends a message that you are impatient and are eager to add something to the conversation. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Body Language, cont. <ul><li>Seating : </li></ul><ul><li>Wait for the interviewer to direct you to a seat. If you feel uncomfortable, you may ask the interviewer:&quot; Where would you like me to sit?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a personal space of 30-36 inches. Maybe more. </li></ul><ul><li>Sit to the back of the chair with your back straight. Lean slight forward to show your interest in the conversation. </li></ul><ul><li>Women should avoid crossed legs and instead cross legs at the ankles. Men should avoid sitting with their legs too wide apart or with one ankle over the other knee. </li></ul><ul><li>Posture: </li></ul><ul><li>Move slowly and deliberately. Do not hurry any movement. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your shoulders back, smile and keep eye contact when appropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Hands : </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid negative hand messages like running fingers through hair, biting fingernails, wringing hands, adjusting tie (nervous), and touching nose or face, clasping hands behind head, rubbing back of neck (untrustworthy or defensive). </li></ul>
  15. 15. Overcoming Interview Jitters <ul><li>One of the best ways to overcome pre-interview nervousness is to be well prepared. It will boost your confidence and lower your nervousness. </li></ul><ul><li>Know the company you are interviewing with. </li></ul><ul><li>Draft answers to common interview questions and practice speaking them out loud. </li></ul><ul><li>Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation are effective in overcoming extreme cases of interview fright. </li></ul><ul><li>If you find yourself becoming nervous during the interview, take a deep breath and focus on the interview questions. Don’t rush through your answers or make unqualified statements. </li></ul>
  16. 16. The Interview <ul><li>Arrive early - Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before but no less than 5 before the interview. Being late is bad manners. Also, by being early you have time to use the restroom to calm your jitters. </li></ul><ul><li>Treat everyone with Respect - You never know who is involved in the recruitment process. It’s common for even the receptionist to be asked their opinion of candidates. Watch your manners over lunch. The job interview isn’t confined to the meeting room. </li></ul><ul><li>Bring necessary documentation - Make sure to bring along documents that you will need for the interview. extra copies of your résumé, a passport, driver’s license, or Social Security card or college transcripts. </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Interview, cont. <ul><li>Sell yourself - The interview is your chance to shine, so now is not the time to be humble. Use good body language. </li></ul><ul><li>Express enthusiasm for the job and the related industry - If a job doesn’t interest or excite you, don’t even bother applying or accepting an interview. Don't waste everybody's time. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t focus on the salary – The Interviewer knows you’re concerned about salary. The initial interview is not the time to discuss it. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t criticize past employers - you shouldn't tell the interviewer about every rotten employer you’ve ever had. </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Interview, cont. <ul><li>Answer questions as directly as possible - Interviewers can sense when you’re trying to hide something. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t neglect to ask questions – Think of questions you would like to ask ahead of time. It shows interest in the job and the company. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be a “No Show” - If you're going to cancel, let them know. Remember it's a small world: you never know when you might need to do business with someone who was annoyed by your rudeness. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Interview Questions <ul><li>Reasons For Leaving - Carefully choose your words when responding to this question. Negative responses may provide a swift way for the employer to eliminate your application from consideration. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Respond </li></ul><ul><li>Fired - Don't use the term fired or terminated. Find a phrase that sounds neutral such as &quot;involuntary separation.&quot; You may want to call past employers to find out what they will say in response to reference checks. </li></ul><ul><li>Quit - If you quit your job, be prepared to offer an explanation. If you quit under less than favorable conditions, avoid saying anything negative about the employer. There are many positive, valid reasons why you may have quit your job. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Interview Questions, cont. <ul><li>Laid Off - If you were laid off from a job due to no fault of your own, tell the employer the circumstances. Phrases you might want to use include lack of work, lack of operating funds, temporary employment, seasonal employment, company closed… </li></ul><ul><li>Quit for a better Job - This response includes-- leaving for advancement potential, leaving to work closer to home, leaving for a better work environment or leaving for a career change. If you quit for a better job, there shouldn't be a long break in employment; your employment history should support the statement. </li></ul><ul><li>Quit to Move to Another Area - You may have moved to be nearer to your family or to an area with greater economic potential. Be careful not to use this reason for more than one employer on your application-- it might appear you aren't a dependable or stable employee. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Interview Questions <ul><li>Quit to Attend School - If you use this reason, the education listed on your application and/or resume must agree. Preferably, your school program is consistent with your career goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Job Gaps - If you have job gaps in your employment history, be sure to think of positive ways you were spending your time while unemployed. Make your answer short, simple and truthful. Examples include managing and maintaining a household, attending school and providing childcare. </li></ul><ul><li>If Asked About Salary Requirements - When asked about salary requirements, it's best to give a salary range or to respond with &quot;negotiable.&quot; Use one of these responses even if you know the wage. You never know what the future holds, and you could negotiate a higher salary. It is best not to discuss salary now. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Interview Questions <ul><li>Traditional Questions – A series of questions that have straight forward answers. </li></ul><ul><li>Behavioral Questions – Bases on the theory that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. Usually open-ended and does not draw out a specific response. </li></ul><ul><li>Inappropriate or Illegal Questions – Ask about your age, race, religion, sexual orientation, financial status… </li></ul><ul><li>See handouts. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Post Interview <ul><li>Follow Up </li></ul><ul><li>After the interview, don’t forget to send a handwritten note or friendly email thanking the interviewer for his or her time and consideration, as well as restating your interest and commitment to the position. </li></ul><ul><li>Following up can help you stand out to the crowd and can reinforce the fact that you're a strong candidate for the hiring manager. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t hear anything after one week, call to politely inquire when they will be making a final decision. </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Job Offer <ul><li>What to do when they offer you the job? </li></ul><ul><li>Be enthusiastic and professional </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for the offer in writing </li></ul><ul><li>Don't make a quick decision </li></ul><ul><li>How long have you got to decide? </li></ul><ul><li>Get all the details </li></ul><ul><li>If you feel confident enough, renegotiate </li></ul><ul><li>Give them your answer </li></ul>
  25. 25. Thank You! <ul><li>I hope these workshops have given you the </li></ul><ul><li>information you needed to secure yourself a job </li></ul><ul><li>or career. </li></ul><ul><li>I wish you well in job searching endeavors! </li></ul>
  26. 26. Interview Resources <ul><li>Interview Stuff - </li></ul><ul><li>Job Employment Guide - </li></ul><ul><li>Career Encouragement Blog - </li></ul><ul><li>Improving Your Interview Skills video - </li></ul><ul><li>CareerCenter - </li></ul><ul><li>Quintessential Careers - </li></ul>

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