An education is earned through hard work and lots of money, but graduating college does not guarantee a job—a person has to get through the interview process first.
Andrew Skaggs, employer outreach specialist for Dixie State College’s Career Center, said one of the biggest faux pas an interviewee can pull off is dressing down. A first impression can only be made once, and the potential employer will see a job applicant’s attire before anything else.
Dress to impress
“Don’t underdress,” Skaggs said. “At the least it should be business casual. [Wear] something that looks professional.”
Clothes make the man or woman, and most people agreed that dressing for success will bring a person just that.
Greg Diaz, a sophomore business administration major from Ogden, said the outfit shows the level of dedication to the interview.
“Dress respectfully and be confident in yourself that you’re going to get the job,” he said. “That definitely goes a long way.”
Lane Welling, a freshman undecided major from Ogden, said he went overboard in the shirt and tie department at his first job interview.
“I think I was overdressed,” he said. “It’s Taco Time. I should have just gone more casual. I should have gone with khakis and a polo.”
Welling did end up getting the job, though.
Polish that resume
Skaggs said the interview process would go much more smoothly if the applicant’s resume is in order. An effective resume will get right to the point and inform potential employers of an applicant’s skills that are pertinent to the job. Resumes should also be short. Websites like ResumeBuilder.com and LiveCareer.com offer templates that can help get the job done.
The Career Center is also a good resource when it comes to learning how to build a better resume.
“They definitely need their resume to be the best possible; that’s the first step,” Skaggs said.
Battle those nerves
Staying calm during the process is easy if the applicant can just learn to laugh.
“Be outgoing,” Skaggs said. “It’s OK to smile, and you can laugh. It’s always a good idea to do that because it breaks the ice and makes everyone a little more comfortable.”
Kestra White, a freshman English major from St. George, said the fear of rejection will most likely be the biggest hurdle she’ll have to clear in her first job interview, but she’s already prepared herself for the worst.
“If they say, ‘No,’ just be quiet about it,” she said. “Don’t get upset.”
Do your homework
Perhaps the most important element of succeeding at a job interview is being prepared.
Skaggs said applicants should research the company they want to work for. This will not only put them at an advantage in the interviews, but it will also help alleviate stresses that might usually be caused by unsurety.
This will also give job seekers the ability to answer when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for us?”
Skaggs said being prepared with a question about the company shows there’s been research done.
“It looks good,” he said. “You took the time to find out more about them and the company.”
Diaz said going in without having done at least a little bit of research can ruin a person’s chance of getting hired.
“That’s kind of the worst thing—just not really being prepared,” he said. “Being prepared helps out a lot. I can kind of talk my way around things, but that’s kind of a bad thing to do in an interview.”
Jerry Welker, an integrated studies major from Las Vegas, said an applicant should bring something—anything—unique that will set him or her apart from the others.
“Always bring to the table the things that money can’t buy, like work ethic and dedication,” he said.
Don’t do it
There are also plenty of things applicants have a tendency to do that are big job interview no-nos.
Skaggs said on the first interview applicants shouldn’t ask how much money they’ll be making or how much vacation time they’ll have. It brings the wrong kind of focus and makes the applicant seem less invested in working and more invested in just getting paid.
And when the interviewer inevitably asks, “What’s your biggest weakness?” Skaggs said to never highlight your worst character flaw. He said to point out something manageable, like impatience.
“You have to be honest, but you don’t want to wreck your chances,” Skaggs said.
However, asking about wages isn’t the worst thing to happen during an interview. Welker said his worst interview experience was quite embarrassing.
“The worst thing that happened to me in a job interview was flatulence,” he said.
Go back in
Skaggs said to always thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration, and always follow up by returning to the business in person with a thank you note.
“It’s much more powerful than a phone call,” Skaggs said. “And it gives you an excuse to ask about the progress.”
What are your best and worst interview experiences? Do you have tips for those who are heading into interviews soon? Follow Dixie Sun News on Twitter @DixieSunNews #InterviewTips and “like” us on Facebook.com/DixieSunNews and share your personal advice.