It is getting close to that time again for upcoming graduates: Job searching. A huge determinant in getting a job from any part of the working world you are interested in pursuing has to do with first impressions. More than likely, the person who will be hiring or not hiring you will get this first impression on a face-to-face situation when you step into that room for the interview. From my experience in various interviews as a public relations student, I decided to leave a few tips for other graduating hopefuls who are also trying to make a great first impression for that dream job.
1) Do your research
This might be a no brainer for some people, but to others, it would not have even occurred to them to do a little background research before interview time. Look at a company’s website, or look up the recruiter who is going to interview you. Impress the recruiter with your knowledge of when the company was founded, what its mission statement is or what the CEO’s name is. Research your position and what exactly you will be doing, not just the pay rate.
More often than not, someone who has been wanting the job for a while would have already looked into this basic information; someone who is just trying to get a job would not. Recruiters know this, and you will immediately be put on the backburner due to a lack of motivation on your part to know your company and your job position.
2) Make that impression last
It’s amazing how many students show a lack of professionalism when networking, or when they are being interviewed. I was at a career fair/networking event at my school, and I noticed a young man talking to a representative from one of the companies that was there. The young man did not give the representative a handshake, was looking down or up at the ceiling the whole time they were talking and to top it all off, he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Ouch. Clueless is what comes to mind here…
Obviously, these kinds of settings call for professional dress and professional personality. This scenario happened at a networking event, but the professionalism is obviously just as important within the interviewing process. Shake your recruiter’s hand firmly, look them in the eye, REMEMBER THEIR NAME! Smiling doesn’t hurt either… You want the job, right? Be enthusiastic about the opportunity to be interviewed, but do not overdo it. Send the recruiter a thank-you note, preferably handwritten, for interviewing you for the position.
3) It’s not all about you
During interviews, you obviously want to show yourself off, and display your strengths and achievements to the recruiter. Duh. But if you rattle off your list without making a connection back to the company, or how your skills will benefit the company, it might not leave a great impression for yourself. The recruiter can probably already connect the dots between your skill level and the job position for themselves, but it will be a major plus if YOU know them, too.
Altogether, these three general tips are super important for anyone who wants to make a lasting, great impression during their job interview. Although I am a public relations student, I feel these tips can encapsulate any type of job interview. So on that note… Happy job hunting!