Employment and careers – Preparing for the big job interview

Advice by Kelli Carter, H2H/Kentucky Employer Support for Guard and Reserve

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The rumor is true – the job interview is key to getting on the career path that you want.  The more prepared you are for the job interview the better your chance of getting the job.

It is crucial for you to research the company and find out what they are all about.  Use what you learn to practice interview questions, writing out your answers and practice answering in front of a mirror.  Also, be sure and relate your answers to the company’s needs.

Put together short overview of your resume that you can talk about with your prospective employer; to keep it from being too long, think of it as 30-second commercial.

Behavioral interview questions are most common in job interviews. The employer wants to know what you will do in certain situations. Keep your answers professional and related to the job. Here are few questions you should prepare for and links to some great guidance on how to answer them:

Employer Workshop05

Potential employees practice job interview skills — in this case a firm, professional handshake — during a Kentucky Employer Support of Guard and Reserve workshop. (Kentucky National Guard photo)

Tell Me About Yourself

What are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Why Should we Hire You?

Describe Your Greatest Achievement

What Interests you about this Position?

Your Goals for the Next 5 Years

Reason for Leaving Current Job?

Your answers should be as long as needed to fully answer the question, but do not ramble on. Your responses should show the employer why you’re a qualified candidate and why you are a fit for the job and the company.

What to do and take to the interview includes:

  • Be sure to get the full name and address of the company, department or building where your interview is, the name and position of the contact person/interviewer and contact number
  • Look up directions and do a dry run to make sure you know where it is and to make sure you are ten minutes early
  • Take a few copies of your resume and letters of recommendations
  • Take a pen and paper in case you need to write something down during the interview
  • Take any job description you have on the position
  • Take a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the job

Hiring Kentucky HeroesThe employer will most likely check those social media accounts before call you in for an interview. Make sure those accounts are professional and clean.

It is important to look nice and professional. Men should wear a suit (navy or dark grey), long sleeve shirt (matching to suit), belt, tie, dark socks, conservative shoes (leather), and little to no jewelry. Make sure piercings and tattoos are hidden. Women should consider a suit (navy, black or dark grey) and a coordinated blouse, conservative shoes (pumps), limited jewelry (stud earrings), professional hairstyle that is out of your face.

Tips for a phone interview are:

  • Prepare by compiling a list of your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments and answers to typical questions.
  • Have your resume in front of you to refer to, along with a pen and paper to make notes.
  • Be in a quiet place alone (no background noise).
  • Take a moment to think about the question before answering then respond slowly and clearly
  • Smile during the interview to project a positive tone in your voice and your image (Yes, this actually works!)
  • Send a thank you note after the phone interview to reiterate your interest in the position

An applicant should always ask at least three questions to the employer that will show more interest in the job. Examples: Can you tell me about a typical day in this position? What is the work environment like? Does the job require travel? Why is the position vacant? When are you making a decision on who to hire?

Always send a thank you to each person with who you have the interview to reiterate your interest in the position. Thank them for their time and tell them you hope to hear from them soon regarding the position.

And finally — If you really REALLY want that job, be sure to tell the employer before you go that you will accept the position if it is offered to you.

Good luck and happy job hunting!

If you need assistance in any of these topics contact Kelli Carter at 502.607.1302 or email her at kelli.f.carter2.ctr@mail.mil

HELPFUL LINKS:

Kentucky Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Facebook page

Hero to Hired – preparing for interviews

Hero to Hired – interviewing tips

Hero to Hired – job search

Hiring Kentucky Heroes

Operation Hire Louisville Paving and Construction

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