By: Madison Brattoli
Jane Dvorak, APR and fellow PRSA member educated attendees of PRSSA’s National Conference on how to conduct a strong interview.
In order to succeed in an interview, you must first prepare! In order to successfully prepare you must do research on the company. Conducting research on a company consists of researching the company’s competitors, website, mission statement and searching multiple employee’s LinkedIn accounts.
Before heading out to an interview, ensure that you are wearing the appropriate attire. One thing that young adults often forget to do is iron their shirts. “I will not take you in front of my clients looking like that. That day you are looking as good as you’re going to get, I can’t imagine what a casual day will be like,” said Dvorak. First impressions are determined by 55% the way you dress, act and walk through the door. This is one of your BIG selling points!
In our generation today, young adult often have tattoos. Dvorak states that it is ok to have tattoos but often baby boomers will disapprove. Before you’re interview, know who you are speaking with and if you feel it is appropriate to showcase your tattoos.
As always, practice makes perfect! Practice answering basic interview questions out loud to yourself or ask a friend for help. Practicing out loud helps you better prepare for the interview. First impressions are based by 38% of the quality of your voice, grammar and confidence.
I’m sure you have shook many hands in your lifetime but have you been executing them properly? It is important to practice a proper handshake since it is one of the first impressions you give to an employer. While shaking hands, make eye contact with the other individual and do not be afraid to give a firm handshake. If you construct a flimsy handshake, it shows a sign of weakness.
When employers ask you open ended questions do not “puke up information” about yourself. Stick to the information you feel is important to share without reiterating your entire resume yet again to the employer. The employer is interested in an in-depth conversation about your accomplishments. Pick three bullets form your resume to broaden upon for an interview.
When the interviewer asks the inevitable question, “tell me about yourself” be prepared! Instead of reciting your resume ask the interviewer, “Would you like to know about my internships, work ethic or writing experience?” This will reduce your nervousness during the interview since you will already have these topics planned.
Remember that this interview is not about you, it’s about them. Expand upon experiences you have had that relate with the company. Your experience is your big selling point, not your education.
While in the “hot seat” during an interview always be prepared to dazzle. Show the company why they should hire you. “It’s all about what the company is going to get when they hire you,” said Dvorak.
Another question that is almost certain to be heard in every interview is, “what is your weakness.” Always prepare this question before your interview. When you have detected your weakness, know what the opposite of your weakness is. For instance, say your weakness is procrastination, the opposite is that you can work under pressure effectively. Learn to turn your weakness into a positive attribute that you hold. In an interview, NEVER say that you do not hold a weakness, everyone has some weakness.
Always have questions prepared for your interviewer. These questions can consist of topics you have not talked about in the interview. Have these questions reflect your research you conducted on the company.
In just only 20 seconds employers make a decision on a good and bad pile of employers. Find ways to make your resume to stand out compared to others and when you are given the opportunity to conduct an interview, find your confidence and expand upon your experience. Dazzle those employers!