Interviews are tough enough nowadays without thinking about how technology might come into play. From knowing how early to show up, to what to do after the interview, it can be a minefield for candidates who haven’t been in the talent pool for very long.
Tech - including software to scan resumés to work out who gets invited to an interview and even social media - can present new challenges to applicants who aren’t used to how it works. This is why we’ve put together our top five tips for applicants who are going through interviews now.
Optimizing your resumé Your resumé is the first step towards getting your career started. It’s the thing that will initially get a potential employer’s attention. However, the way this happens has changed in recent years.
HR tech has made a significant impact on the way companies and recruiters look resumés over. Software that automatically scans these documents for specific keywords has been developed and is now common among companies in all industries.
That makes it important to know what these are so you can optimize your resumé accordingly and ensure you aren’t overlooked by these systems. Read the job description carefully. Are there any words that are mentioned a number of times? That’s a clue that it’s an important and desired skill or attribute in their new hire so make sure you include it in your resumé.
You should also keep it clear of any tables, images or fancy fonts. These aren’t read well by software scanning systems, which could ruin your chances of even getting your resumé seen by the hiring manager.
How to interact with the company Should you or should you not interact with the company before you apply to work there? And how would you go about doing so?
Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer. It really depends on the company, the hiring manager and the general situation. Some managers don’t want to be contacted when they already have to respond to actual applications, while others are happy to answer questions about the vacancy.
But social media is a useful way to interact with the company as a whole before and after your interview. Responding to and sharing their posts could help boost your profile, which can then help differentiate you in a wide field of applicants.
No later than a day after you’ve been for your interview, make sure you send an email thanking the interviewer for their time. You can use this as an opportunity to tell them that you’re even more enthusiastic about the position and even share a couple of ideas or points that you’ve had time to think about since meeting them.
What questions to ask Knowing what to ask your interviewer is essential to making a good impression. You want to come across as intelligent and capable, not naive and ignorant. And you can do this by asking well thought out questions.
It may be a cliché but you have to remember that you’re interviewing the company and manager as much as they’re interviewing you. You need to know that you’ll be happy working there, so you should think about what would keep you satisfied. If that’s knowing that you’ll get regular training and opportunities for personal development, ask about their programs.
There are some questions that you might have prepared that will be answered in the interview discussion itself - often managers will explain that this role is a new position or if it’s replacing someone else, for instance - so you should have some backups.
If you want to know about company culture, you can phrase your question in a way that gives you some insight into the team you might be joining. You could ask what employees do in their spare time or whether it’s common for co-workers to go to lunch together.
Asking questions about what’s happening in the wider world could also be a sign to interviewers that you’re aware and thinking about the potential consequences of political or economic situations to their business. You could ask how something like a government election might affect the business or whether a global event like Brexit might have an impact.
Establishing a rapport Building a rapport with your interviewer may sound complex but it just comes down to being yourself and staying open and friendly.
If you start the interview with a big smile and a firm handshake, you’ll already be on the right footing. But establishing a rapport with your interviewer can start even earlier than that. You’ll need to make sure you arrive early but keep it to around ten minutes. Any earlier and you might be left in a waiting area, which can mean you spend that time just getting more nervous. It can also irritate the interviewer if you get there too early, since they won’t be expecting you and won’t always know what to do with you.
Make sure you’re friendly and polite to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to the chief executive, if it happens. You want to leave as many people as possible with a good impression.
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