What are employers looking for in new employees? Generally speaking they are looking for three main characteristics:
2. DEPENDABILITY - Can we count on you?
3. SKILLS - What can you contribute to the job?
Your appearance before and during the interview is not only your dress, but your manner and your appearance on paper. Before selecting your interviewing outfits remember that your clothes cover more than 90% of your body and therefore contribute a great deal to the way you appear. Your conservative, businesslike, clean and pressed attire will affect the decision maker favorably.
MEN - A traditional suit of wool or wool blend (not a sport coat), a white or light blue shirt (cotton), conservative tie and belt, dark socks and smooth leather shoes (shined) is acceptable. Since starched collar and cuffs make for a good appearance, you may want to give up the ironing battle and have the cleaners wash and starch your interview shirts.
WOMEN - Woman have more choice. A nice looking suit (navy/black/gray/beige) is good and a plus to your wardrobe. Hose, matching shoes and bag, simple jewelry, delicate perfume, quiet nail polish, and day time make up would create a professional appearance. How about a dress rather than a suit? A smart look dress is acceptable, however, you may want to consider wearing a suit on your first interview. Should you have a second interview you may choose to wear a dress. In making that decision, a good rule of thumb is to "mirror" the dress of the people who will be hiring you.
In addition to your clothing being appropriate, you also want to feel good about your appearance. If you are pleased with your resume, and like the physical look you project, your chances of interviewing well are enhanced. Should you believe your taste in clothing and your general appearance is totally different from the company or organization you are interviewing with, this may be your first clue that you do not have a "professional fit".
Physical appearance mistakes most often made include:
Your paper appearance includes your cover letter, resume, completion of a job application, and a thank you letter after interviews. If you are given an application to take with you,it is advisable to type it. Cover letters and thank you letters are also typed. Your paper appearance is evidence of your organizational skills, accuracy, attention to detail, and professionalism.
Be yourself and try to project not only a natural and positive manner, but one of enthusiasm. People are persuaded more by your enthusiasm than by any other proof you can offer. Interviewers are also looking for confident, courteous, honest, and sincere individuals when hiring. It is understandable that in the initial few minutes of the interview you may be a little uncomfortable. As you walk in, quickly scan the office to find a personal way to open the conversation. Many people have an "ego wall" on which they hang all their plaques and awards. Here is your opportunity to make a sincere, interested comment about an item, and ask of it's significance to the interviewer. Ice breaking small talk is usually brief, but,it gives you time to begin to relax. Why is manner important? Your manner during an interview gives the employer an indication of how you will present yourself on the job...
Employers are called upon to determine if you are an individual they can count on. Will you be a dependable employee? Will you be there for them in both the good and the not so good times? (It is a good idea to visit the interview sight before the interview day to determine travel time, parking facilities, and possible delay points to arriving at least 10/minutes before the scheduled interview) You can show a prospective employer this by arriving on time for your interview as well as responding in a prompt fashion to phone calls and correspondence. Additionally, one of the best ways to document dependability is to openly speak to it during your interview. You can give work examples or college ones. For example, "When I was a student it was rare that I came to class late, or did not attend classes. I also felt it was my responsibility to complete assignment on time and as directed by the instructor."
WORK RELATED SKILLS
We all possess skills. In preparation for your interviewing you need to identify yours. There are several handouts in the Career Services Resource Library relative to skills identification which are available to you.
Identifying your skills is but the beginning in the interviewing process. Once you know yours, and are able to articulate them during an interview, your next step is to prepare yourself to give examples of how you have used them in your past work experience and/or college involvement. Anyone can say they possess, for example, good verbal communication skills, however, the interviewer must be satisfied that, in reality, this is true. A way you can convince them is by offering proof by example.
You do this by stating that you have a specific skill and follow it up with an example, and then connect it to the job you are being interviewed for:
PROOF BY EXAMPLE STATEMENT: "When I worked in the Fine Jewelry Department at "name store" I attempted to get to know the customers, not merely wait on them. I would engage them in conversation relative to their jewelry tastes which I believe not only personalized service, but made for a more satisfied customer."
CONNECTION STATEMENT: "As a management trainee here I believe I have the ability to relate easily and effectively to both staff and clients."
There is no way to know exactly what questions will be asked of you in interviews. What is important to one interviewer may not be to another. To prepare:
2. Prepare yourself to "tell stories" regarding your accomplishments.
3. Review all other interviewing handouts available and read books on interviewing available in the Career Resource Center.
4. Practice, out loud, all of your answers to interview questions.
5. Practice some more.
6. And more.
Each campus Career Resource Center has several books on interviewing for your use.
The following online resources are available:
Online Job Boards
Florida Newspaper Classifieds
Daytona Beach News Journal
Palatka Daily News
The Florida Times-Union
The Miami Herald
North Florida Regional Medical Center
St Johns River State College
Florida Job Resources