Need a Job? Tips for Today’s Job Seekers: The Interview

By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Victorville) Need a job? For many, the answer is a resounding “yes”! Job searching can be a pain for most, and when you don’t hear back from an employer, it can weigh on your self-esteem. Never fear, you are not alone. As a former career developer for a local school, I know how tough it can be and the challenges faced in today’s job market, especially in the High Desert. So get ready, because I’m going to give you some tips that can improve your chances in getting that phone call you have been waiting for. In this final entry in the “Need a Job?” series, we cover the all-important interview.

The job interview; one of the scariest moments for job seekers of all ages. Interviews can come in a variety of forms: from one on one interviews, to group interviews, and even panel interviews. The trick is to be prepared for any type of interview, as well as to focus on the common made mistakes that can cost you the chance to move forward in the hiring process. We will cover some mannerisms to watch, body language to use, as well as the types of interviews to expect, and how to react to them.

Know the types. The most common of interviews is the one on one interview. It would be you, a manager, and a slew of questions. A key to a one on one interview, as well as any of the interview types, is to remain calm, be polite, and be yourself. The next type, which is commonly found during a time of mass hires, is the group interview.  A group interview has a group of candidates, like you, in an interview with usually multiple interviewers. One interviewer usually records the scores to the questions asked, while another formally conducts the interviews. In a group interview, usually the same question is asked to each person in the group, which can work in your favor if you are near the end of the line to be asked. Take the time you have to develop a solid, well thought out answer, as well as to see what answers other candidates are using that are not impressing the interviewers.  The most intimidating of interviews come in the form of a panel interview: in where it is you in a room with around 4-5 interviewers, all asking you questions, watching your body language, and scoring your answers. In a panel interview, you want to make sure to direct your attention to not only the one asking you the question, but to also scan the panel, giving your attention to all.

Respect the keeper. When you come in for an interview, there is always someone that you make initial contact with first; say hello to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper can be a receptionist, secretary, or any other title of an employee. Their role is to not only let your interviewer know you are there, but to also alert them to your actions. Are you courteous when you walk in? Are you on your phone the whole time while you wait? From the moment you walk in the door for an interview, the test begins. Make sure to be pleasant to all you come in contact with, and utilize your skill set of respect for others while you wait for your turn in the interviewee chair.

Actions speak. Actions can speak louder than words, and that has never been truer than in an interview. From the handshake, which needs to be firm whether it’s shaking the hand of a man or woman, to the eye contact, your body is speaking volumes for you. When you are sitting down to be interviewed, be mindful of the actions your body makes, even when you’re not thinking of them. Actions like toe tapping, fidgeting with your hands and fingers, nervous twitches and the ultimate action you need to watch for: the constant checking of your cell phone. Leave the phone in the car, or turn it off, not on silent. Trust me, if your phone is on silent, someone WILL call you during the interview, and the interviewer WILL hear the sound of a vibrating phone.

Be thankful. Making it to the interview stage is a feat all its own, so make sure to thank your interviewer for their time and for the opportunity. If you would like, you can even follow up with a written thank you letter in a few days, once again thanking the interviewer, but at the same time reminding them of your skills and attributes. A good impression is the best thing you can leave with an interviewer, so adding to that impression with a thank you note could definitely work in your favor. One thing you don’t want to do is pester an employer with phone calls of desperation: stick to a written letter a few days after and hope for the best.

Well, I hope this series of articles have been somewhat helpful to you. Gaining employment is becoming increasingly harder, but the key to it all is to never give up. I have received more rejection letters and emails than I care to count, but I have never let it make me think that I should throw in the towel. Take every rejection letter as one more reason to look harder, to sharpen your skills, and be ready for the next job opportunity.

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