You’ve arrived early to the interview. You’re dressed perfectly, your clothes have no wrinkles, and not a single hair on your head is standing up. And outwardly, you display confidence, though inside, your heart is beating faster and faster. And then the interviewer calls you in. What now?
First impressions can hardly be called accurate, but they’re the moments that matter most. One bad impression can set you back a long way, and it can be difficult to recover. The interview is perhaps the most important part of getting the job.
“Preparation is the key to success in the interview, research being chief among those things that you want to do. You want to research the companies to be able to speak intelligently about them,” said Christian Ferris, Director of Career Services.
“At our career fairs, the number one complaint that we get from employers that were here is that students don’t know anything about their company,” Ferris said.
Students need to prepare for the questions companies are known to ask. They need to know what questions are considered common. Career Services can help in both cases; they provide mock interviews and offer to research the company’s usual questions.
“Be able to introduce yourself. Walk the interviewer through your resume. Don’t leave out why you want to work for them. Be prepared for the behavioral questions: ‘Tell us a time when…’ or ‘Give us an example of a time when…’”Ferris said.
“When you’re asked a strange question, just stay calm. You can think about an answer for about three to five seconds, which is a lot longer period of time than you think it is,” Ferris said. “You can reset that clock by asking a clarifying question, or make a general comment, something that prevents it from becoming an awkward sentence. Hopefully that’s enough time for you to answer those questions.”
Keep an eye out for body language and verbal cues. If they look impatient, or if they tell you outright you’re doing something wrong, take a step back in the opposite direction. Be humorous and be friendly. Employers will hire those with whom they feel comfortable with.
Brownsville Pep Boys Manager David Macias, who’s been in management for 12 years, didn’t mind sharing the business side of an interview.
“First of all, you have to learn how to read body language and break the ice. As for the interviewer, they study your answers, the way you answer the question, and body language to see what kind of work ethic you really have,” Macias said.
“They have to be willing to learn. I get a lot of kids from college, and you know, they’ve spent a lot of money already, and they need the job. As long as they’re willing to train, I’ll work with them,” Macias said.
Macias said that there are three things that employers don’t want to put up with.
“No attitude or cockiness. Don’t say negative things about your former employer, and don’t blame other people for your actions. Take responsibility for yourself,” Macias said.