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How to Ace the Interview | Lifestyle

how to ace the interview

So you’re in high school looking for your first job, just graduated post-secondary and you’re on the hunt for a career… or you have a job but you’d like to find something different? You can expect to go through the ever-daunting interview process. I don’t believe I’ve met a single person who enjoys the interview process.

It can be extremely nerve wracking, especially because in North America for each job position there are more than four applicants. How do you make yourself look like the best?

Not to fear! I’m here to share some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the course of 8 years in the working world through experience and schooling in order to make sure you’re the best of the best!

How to Ace the Interview!

Application

It all starts with the application. If you want the job you have to put time and effort into tailoring a resume/ cover letter to show your interest. I know that if you’re just looking for a part-time job throughout the school year it can seem a bit superfluous but it shows that you care and have initiative. So make sure that you write out a proper cover letter and resume (and get someone to spell-check) before you send it out! When looking for a job I usually set myself a goal of two applications a day– that way I can ensure the cover letter and resume are up to snuff and not rushed.

Do you need a job for two months from now? Think it’s too soon to start looking? No! Make sure to send out applications at least a month in advance to when you want to start work. From experience I’ve found that it can take up to four weeks to hear back, especially if the job was posted on a website. Look at the date that the job applications close so you can get a better idea of when you’d hear back.

Walmart, Home Depot and other large companies tend to have an application website. Have you taken the quiz? This is how they filter their applicants. Make sure to answer it completely honestly and don’t disregard the questions.

Open Moleskine and Business Cards

Preparation

So you got the call back! Congrats. It’s not over yet though, if you want the job you have to be prepared. What to bring to an interview can vary depending on the job type. If you’re a design student and applying to a design-related job make sure to bring your portfolio! Along with your printed cover letter, resume, references and letters of reference if you have them.

Always bring your printed cover letter, resume and references to an interview. It makes you look more professional and organized.

Pro Tip: Don’t just print your resume on a normal sheet of paper. Head over to staples (or another office supplier) and buy resume-grade paper. It makes you look much more professional. Plus it will last a long time, so it’s an investment!

Practice

You need to sell yourself, and a good way to do that is practice interview questions. The worst thing you can do is be stumped on a question during an interview. Here’s a list of the most common questions (and stumpers!)

  1. Tell me about yourself.

  2. Why would you excel at this job?

  3. Tell me about a difficult situation you’ve had with a customer / colleague and how you handled it?

  4. What are your weaknesses / strengths?

  5. Why do you want to work here?

  6. Why should we hire you?

  7. How do you deal with a problem? (ie. with manager / co-worker / customer)

  8. What do you know about this company?

  9. Why did you leave your last job?

  10. Do you have any questions for me?

Number 10 is especially important. You need to come prepared with at least one question to ask the interviewer. Research on the company comes in handy for this part- for example if a company works in textiles you could ask how they have incorporated sustainability in their manufacturing. By asking a really good and thoughtful question it makes you look genuinely interested in the job. I wish I had known that myself for my first couple interviews.

Handshake

First impressions are important. One of the reasons I landed my most recent job is the handshake – the owner of the company told me it’s good to know that someone isn’t giving you the ‘dead-fish’ or ‘iron grip.’ Make sure to practice your handshake to get it just right.

Stationary

Dress the part

I’ve been to countless interviews. When I was 15 I had an interview for a clothing company – when you’re 15 you don’t know too much about job interviews and I went wearing a sweater and jeans. Don’t be me.

Last year I experienced a group interview and a girl there was wearing leggings and a lace t-shirt. Spoiler alert: she didn’t get the job. But I did, I was wearing black dress pants, a white blouse and black blazer. Don’t feel bad about being over-dressed (unless you’re wearing a ball-gown) because it shows that you want to present yourself nicely.

Tattoos, Body Piercings, Hair Colour

This is a tricky debate but if you have tattoos you should over them. I have a tattoo on my forearm and have made sure to keep it concealed for every interview. This was a good decision because even though employers are not allowed to discriminate, if they haven’t hired you they might decide not to because of the first impression.

I was speaking to an employer last year and after working for him for a few months I finally told him about my forearm tattoo. He asked me when I was going to get it removed and that I should keep it covered because it’s unprofessional. He wasn’t being rude – I understand where he comes from because it’s a completely different generation. That’s why it’s good to do research and know who you’re working for. 

Similarly, I used to have hot-pink hair – in the Interior Design field it’s rather unheard of to see someone with unnatural hair colours. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. However it doesn’t look professional.

Thank you Cards

Leave on a good note

Okay, so you’ve completed your interview. You practiced, you dressed the part and now you’re done. So what’s next? Send a thank you note! If you want the job, you should always make sure to thank the employer for taking time out of their day to interview you.

Whether you choose to send an email or card is up to you. For my last interview I decided to send them a hand written card because I felt it would look more sincere. Although I have written emails as well. It depends on how quickly you want to respond (mail can take up to a week, email is instant.)

Get the job!

Hopefully this overview has been useful. If I could go back to my fourteen year-old self I wish I had this information. A lot of life is trial and error and it really depends on your qualifications and what you have to offer. As long as you present yourself well and look professional you should find a job in no time. Never forget that connections are especially important as well – if you know a friend or family member in the industry that you want to work for, don’t feel bad about asking them for job opportunities. They might know someone who knows someone!

Good Luck!

Would you like to see a how-to portfolio/business card post?

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  • Jill

    Great blog, dear xx
    Jill
    Jill D Blog

  • I was a PA back in Malaysia and helped my boss to arrange lots of interviews and while one might think interview courtesy is a bloody common sense, you’ll be surprised at how many are ignorant. Turning up late, attending with Instagram face makeup, wearing Justin Beiber ‘I want to show half of my ass to the world’ jeans. I could go on but it would take a day and night to list down everything…

    • lindseyelyse

      Oh man, and then people wonder why they can’t get a job! It’s all about selling yourself (professionally )

  • I’ve only done one job interview for a part-time slot at a juice place but even then I still tried to look nice and presentable. Even though I’m not looking for a job right now, I’m always a little iffy about the way I present myself since I do have blonde hair (I’m Asian) hah. These are awesome tips though!

    Sam | http://mybeautycloud.com

    • lindseyelyse

      Blonde doesn’t seem to be too bad (even if it’s not natural) it’s more the pinks, purples, blue & green unfortunately! Glad you enjoyed it

  • Great tips and post! Thank you for sharing!
    It’s kinda sad that we can’t show up at interviews with pink hair and not get judged though isnt it haha 🙂 xxxxx

    http://leahrachelgoth.blogspot.co.uk/

    • lindseyelyse

      I know! If the world wasn’t such a judgemental place I’d love to rock the pink hair again lol!

  • Your tips are so handy! I’d never thought of going to staples & printing on resume grade paper, thanks for that! I will look into it 🙂

    Yasmeen x
    The Mirror Affects

    • lindseyelyse

      Glad you liked! You can just pick up resume paper and print it at home too

  • those are some awesome tips! x

    jess x | wellwellgirls.blogspot.com

    • lindseyelyse

      Thanks hun!

  • Hey this is a great post, I’ve recently finished 3 years at university like yourself so bookmarking this post will be very helpful for the future!

    Myra, myramyla.com

    • lindseyelyse

      Good luck!

  • Such a helpful and great post, Lindsey! Thank you for writing it. I am looking for my first job right now and I am struggling with it and I am dreading the interview parts 🙂 I’d also love to see your how-to portfolio or business card post! 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

    • lindseyelyse

      Glad you enjoyed, Leta! Hopefully this gives you a better idea. I’ll start working on another

  • I have had interviews both applying for a job and, in the last years, picking people and I wish more people would know what you describe. You’d think a lot is common sense, but sadly it isn’t.

    • lindseyelyse

      Right!? I guess this should be more of a public service announcement haha

  • Hmm..I just realized I let my tattoo show at multiple interviews and didn’t get the jobs for those lol. It really does depend on where you’re planning on working as well. Great tips here though!

    • lindseyelyse

      Aww! Sometimes there are people more qualified- you can’t take it too personally. It definitely depends on the work environment!

  • Great post for people looking for a job! I googled the heck out of my last interview a few days AFTER I had it and TOTALLY forgot to send a thank you email; omg -.- luckily, I got the job! 🙂

    • lindseyelyse

      Haha, well that’s good! You must have made a good impression anyway!

  • Nice post! These are great tips 🙂

    STYLE VANITY

  • I’m so rubbish at job interviews that it’s embarrassing. I hate being asked why you want to work for a job when you’re going for a part time job at some fast food chain. I can’t help but come up with some sarcastic remark about my passion for burgers… I’m terrible!

    Sally – DiagonSally

    • lindseyelyse

      Haha always say the word OPPORTUNITY! Then you can say to grow as a person, achieve life skills or move up in the company 😉

  • Where was this when I was applying to universities a few months ago? Haha! These are wonderful tips for jobs, personally, I think speaking with confidence and lots of smiling usually help <3

    xx Bash |   go say   H E Y   B A S H

    • lindseyelyse

      Haha, sorry about that! At least it could still be applicable in the future. Confidence and showing your beautiful (genuine) smile is a great idea!

  • I had a mock interview last year in uni, and I was nervous like hell. And these kind of posts helped me ace the interview. I’m so thankful for everyone who share their knowledge and experience about this stuff. I’ll definitely bookmark this for future use. THanks for sharing!
    Love, Fads

    • lindseyelyse

      Glad you enjoyed! That’s what it’s here for! No need to go into an interview without expecting what to do!

  • I wish I had this when I graduated uni
    great tips!

    xx
    Lizzie | Garland Girl

    • lindseyelyse

      Thanks Elizabeth, sorry it wasn’t up sooner 😉

  • what a great post for job seekers. I work full time as a recruitment consultant and agree with all tour tips :-)x

  • isa-professional

    Great interview tips, these would come very handy for anyone nervous about a job meeting!

    ISA Professional

  • Pingback: How to Adult | A Crash Course - lindseyginge()

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