Interviews and Offers
It’s great that you’ve stuck with the course all the way to Lesson 9! The payoff of a successful job search begins with an interview and ends with an offer. Let’s look at the preparation and practice needed during this phase of the job search.
Targeted Interview Preparation
Preparing for interviewing involves crafting ready answers for any questions you can anticipate and making sure that those answers put you in the best light. If you are asked a question that requires a negative response, turn it around. For example, if an interviewer asks for your worst quality, you might answer, “I’m a perfectionist. I get caught up in making sure that every detail is complete and correct.” You have answered appropriately, but who could argue with someone who wants to do great work?
Practice interviewing with a friend, a family member, or on your own. Search online for common interview questions to use. Practice will help you be less nervous during the real thing. An informational interview would be an ideal practice scenario for this purpose.
Targeted interview preparation means researching information on the employer and on the position, if possible, and creating answers that would be geared toward what the company needs in an employee. To show your interest in this specific job, ask questions based on what you’ve learned. Do this research, and be ready going in to the interview.
Interview Basics and Ongoing Communications
Here are a few tips for the actual interview day:
• Dress as if you have the position (unless there is a uniform).
• Take copies of your resume, references, and portfolio with you, if it applies.
• Arrive ten to 15 minutes early.
• Shake the interviewer’s hand.
• Answer inquiries with confidence.
• Ask good questions of the interviewer.
• Restate your interest in the job and why you think you are the best candidate.
• Say “Thank you!”
At the end of the interview, ask for a timeline on the hiring process. The decision may be delayed for a few weeks or you may get a call the next day with an offer. Get a general idea of the time frame so that you aren’t too anxious and know when to follow up.
Treat every communication you have with anyone at the employer’s organization, including the interviewer, with respect and professional behavior. Continue this behavior following the interview. Bad impressions stick, so make a good one and reinforce it.
Accepting a Rejection Gracefully
Never burn a bridge that you may need to cross one day. If you are informed that you did not receive a position, accept that communication gracefully. Thank the contact for considering you. If it’s important to you, politely ask what disqualified you from getting the offer. Never be rude or angry. Someday, you may have to interact with that person again, and poor behavior could come back to haunt you.
Negotiating an Offer Professionally
If you have received an offer, congratulations! It’s not uncommon to expect more money than is offered to you or to need some benefit that the company doesn’t offer up front. Maybe you’d like to work some hours at home, but that wasn’t part of the original discussion. Be reasonable in your requests for pay and other benefits, and ask politely for what you want. Be prepared to make a decision if your demand isn’t met.
The Big Payoff: Accepting an Offer
You job search is a success! You have an offer that you want to accept. Don’t wait! Remember to use all the previous advice on professional communication. Accept the offer, and clarify your next step, which may be a start date, a background check, or a drug test. When everything is finalized, send an email or letter of thanks to the hiring manager. Hold your head up, and be proud that you have conducted an effective job search!
After you’ve accepted a position, there are a few things to consider concerning the search so you can prepare for the future. The next lesson will cover this topic.
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