Were you a Scout as a kid? If so, you might still possess a few unique skills, like cooking the perfect s’more, pitching a tent in the rain, and tying the dreaded Man O’ War Sheep Shank knot.
Those skills don’t come up very often in the business world, but the Scout Motto is still useful to every job seeker: Be Prepared. (If you led the nation in selling Girl Scout Cookies, let’s talk because that could still be very useful too!)
Every day, The Liberty Group’s five offices are full of new faces seeking their next big career opportunity. I love meeting new people and helping them along their career path, but it’s also tough to see strong candidates who hurt their chances by not being prepared for the interview process. While they may have a great skill set and experience, they fail to make a great first impression.
Don’t let this happen to you! The following are simple guidelines to ensure you show up for your interview prepared and ready to make a strong impression.
- Know who you are interviewing with. Nothing frustrates employers more than a candidate asking “What does your company do?” Do your homework and have an understanding of the company before you interview.
- Dress for success. This is your chance to make a lasting first impression. This doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy a $1,000 suit. You also shouldn’t look like you’re about to go hit the club. Just make sure you look sharp, professional, and presentable.
- Know your resume. Is your resume current and correct, and can you explain what you’ve done in the past? Grammatical errors and poor formatting issues scream “rush job”. If you don’t have the time to create a strong resume and you don’t care how you look on paper, what do you think a future employer will think about your work ethic? Make sure dates are accurate and the information flows consistently to paint the picture of your career progression. After you create your resume, make sure you can speak about each position and explain where you had an impact in that role.
- Multiple references are a must. Not only is it important to have a network of former employers or clients who can speak about your work but it is extremely important that you know exactly what they are going to say about you and your experience. Most people would be amazed at how many candidates simply list the name of a previous manager or supervisor who is not willing to speak positively on their behalf. Know what your references are going to say! They could be the tie breaker in a multiple candidate situation.
- Be confident. You worked hard to get where you are. Be confident in your abilities! Prove to this company that you are the right person for the job and that you are prepared to be an amazing hire.
The interview is your time to shine and to prove why you are the right candidate for the job. Don’t take it for granted or let the opportunity pass without making a great first impression. While you can’t control whether you get the job, you can control whether you are remembered as a strong candidate. You never know when you will cross paths with the interviewer again or what other opportunities may exist with that company.