According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker in America holds 10 different jobs before the age of 40, and today’s youngest workers are projected to hold between 12 and 15 jobs in their lifetimes.
Far gone from the days of retiring after 40 years of working for the same company, interview skills are more crucial than they’ve ever been. Whether you’re interviewing for a job at a small business or a Fortune 500 company, check out these six tips for acing job interviews.
- Practice. Yes, you read that right. If the job you are interviewing for is important to you, then like everything else in life, practice makes perfect. Pull a list of generic interview questions off of the Internet and have your spouse/parent/friend interview you. This will help eliminate nerves and allow you to formulate answers to standard interview questions in advance.
- Research the company. You should know the expectations of the company you are interviewing for before you go to an interview. Research the company’s mission statement and requirements and obligations of the positioning you are seeking.
- Dress professionally. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. Regardless of the dress code at the business you are interviewing with, dressing professionally for an interview demonstrates respect and lets potential employers know that you are serious. Gentleman, you can’t go wrong with a suit and tie or a blazer and slacks. Ladies: no skirts above the knee, keep the heel height modest and the neckline appropriate. Fortune 500 interviews may warrant a power suit for both men and women in neutral colors like black, navy or gray.
- Arrive early. Punctuality is a vital asset in an employee—time is money as they say. Arriving late to a job interview immediately casts a negative shadow on you and leaves you flustered and anxious before the question and answer portion has even started.
- Ask questions. Once the relief settles in that no more questions are coming your way, feel free to ask your own questions. It is normal to have additional inquires about the company, the office environment or salary/benefits, and asking questions demonstrates a genuine interest to the interviewer.
- Follow up. A follow-up phone call or e-mail can be the thing that sets you apart from another potential employee. A day or two after your interview send a friendly e-mail or place a phone call letting your interviewer know that you enjoyed meeting them and look forward to hearing more from them regarding the position. This will help the proctor remember you in the case that he or she interviewed a large number of people for the same position. Common courtesy can go a long way.