By Elba Aranda-Suh
National Latino Education Institute
The work of writing cover letters and rewriting resumes and posting them for various positions has paid off. You have been called in for a job interview. The job market is very competitive and you are not the only one interviewing for the job. Preparation will increase the chances of getting the job.
1. Research the company
You want to be able to speak knowledgeably on the who, what, where, how and why your prospective employer is successful. This will impress and convey your credibility. It will also help you visualize the position’s role in the company and how your abilities will contribute to that effort. Make sure you have everything you need for the interview. For example; extra resumes, writing samples or other professional work, personal or professional references as well as acceptable personal identification. Most important, practice delivering responses to the most likely 10-20 questions they may ask. To get some idea of what those questions might be, research the job type online. Many of today’s employers are testing for basic skills in math, reading, vocabulary and other subjects depending upon the nature of the work so expect to be tested. Employers may elect to administer a personality or suitability assessment in addition to the traditional pre employment tests that measure typing and data entry skills along with your proficiency in specific software applications like Microsoft Suite (creating letters, papers, reports, booklets, spreadsheets, etc.).
2. Learn industry vocabulary
Every industry has its terminology. Recognizing and understanding this will help you be informed during the interview. However, knowing a specific word is not enough. You know when and how the word should be used. Use the Internet to search for core vocabulary reference sheets related to the industry.
3. Sell yourself
The interview is a time to shine. Develop a 25 second sales pitch that provides a compelling overview of why you are the best candidate.
4. Ask questions at the end of the interview
The hiring manager is finding out if you are a good fit for the job. Conversely, you need to learn if you will be happy in the position or with the company. There is no formula for how many questions to ask; however, you should enter an interview with at least three to five questions. Use the job description or classified ad and your experience as a guide.
5. Following up after the interview
Finally, as the interview comes to a close, it is okay to ask “next step” questions like, but not limited to, “How soon will a decision be made?” “How many others are being interviewed for the position?” “When would be a good time to follow up with you?” Following up after a couple weeks is also acceptable. Send a thank you letter restating your interest in and commitment to the job within 48-hours of the interview. An email letter is appropriate – particularly if turnaround time is swift, a hard copy can be typed, but a handwritten one adds a nice touch.
This article was originally published in the January 6, 2011 print issue of Extra.
This post is also available in: Spanish