By lisa B. marshall
ISTILL REMEMBER MY FIRST “REAL” INTERVIEW. IT was at General Electric. Believe it or not, the interviewer, Jay, only asked me one thing: “What questions do you have for me?” Thankfully, I had prepared a long list of questions that filled up our interview time. The key to my success in interviewing was preparation. Today, with such intense competition
for fewer and fewer positions, preparation is ever more critical.
Yet the number one complaint from recruiters is that too many
people come unprepared to do interviews. I think that most
people want to be prepared; they just don’t know how to do it.
Here are a few tips to help you.
Research, research, research! You should learn as much as
you can about the industry, the organization, the key leaders,
and the specific people who will be interviewing you. At a minimum, get the name and title of the person doing the hiring, but
try to get this information for everyone.
Obviously the best place to start your research is the organization’s website, but don’t stop there. Google everyone who will
be part of your interview process. Your goal is to discover common ground that you can use to build rapport quickly during
the interview. In addition, this information will help you to
create responses that are specific to the position and company.
Of course the recruiters are also doing their homework.
They’re Googling you, so you’ll need to review what you’ve
posted. Do you share or show anything that indicates alcohol or
drug use? Do you have photos that are inappropriate for a professional work environment? Do you use poor grammar or spelling? Have you bad-mouthed a previous employer, employee, or
even a friend?
If so, the obvious advice is to remove pictures and content
that send the wrong message to potential employers and/or to
adjust your privacy settings so that only designated friends can
view your personal content.
LinkedIn professional profile (www.
linkedin.com), and become a member of the world’s largest professional
networking site. Use this profile to clearly
convey all the skills and experiences you
currently have and how they can benefit
Especially as a new graduate in the current economy, you’ll want to highlight all of your
successes, skills, and experiences and how they can benefit an
organization. Did you participate in sports? Were you active in
any volunteer work, or did you work on any projects or entrepreneurial ventures outside of class? Were you involved with
Greek or student government? Did you participate in a comedy
open mike, or do you have any musical talents?
Your online presence
Not only do you want to get rid of the bad stuff, but also
you’ll want to beef up the good stuff. At a minimum, create a
A profile is less formal and reflects your personality. Enhance
the profile by including documents, presentations, or videos.
For example, you could include an awesome slide presenta-
tion that you created for a difficult class or include a sample
of your writing. Or maybe you’ll want to include a video that
highlights your skills and abilities. Use the flexibility of the for-
mat to creatively represent yourself.
Clearly convey all the skills
and experiences you currently
have and how they can
benefit an organization.