Jul 26, 2014
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Interviewing for Success: Top Five Tips for Job Seekers

Washington Career Services’ Melissa Fireman shares her best career advice.

Interviewing for Success: Top Five Tips for Job Seekers

In this economy, with more and more people applying for fewer and fewer positions, being prepared is crucial, and Patch is here to help with “Five Tips for Interviewing Success” from Washington Career Services.

Washington Career Services (WCS) provides individual career counseling, career development trainings for organizations and individuals such as: Networking, High Impact Resumes, and Myers Briggs Type Indicators, plus outplacement services for organizations.

The “Five Tips for Interviewing Success,” according to WCS’s Melissa Fireman are:

  • Focus on quantifiable, specific results. When asked what you did in your previous position, being general doesn’t really tell the employer much. Tell the hiring manager more about specific accomplishments than tasks and duties, like you are telling a story: “Last week I encountered a problem and did X, Y and Z to solve it.” This allows them to see that you’ve done it somewhere else and can do it for them – bringing your skills and abilities to the new company which will make them better.
  • Tailor your answer to the opportunity. Really study the job description before you go into interview – it has all the answers you’ll need. For example, if they want an accounts payable person who has worked with both customers and businesses alike, you want to mention specific experience in accounts payable working with both customers and businesses. Using your resume like a “cheat sheet” practice answering questions based on the job description.
  • Differentiate yourself. You have unique talents and skills, as well as experiences that no one else has. Make sure to focus on what is different about you and how that can benefit the company. Again, use the job description and make the differentiators relate to the specific job skills listed.
  • Preparation, preparation and preparation. You can’t prepare too much for one of the most important meetings in your life. Write notes about your plan of attack, role play, do mock interviews with friends or family members – this will let you work out any kinks before the actual appointment. Focus on the questions you are afraid they will ask, and practice those. Then you won’t be afraid! People freeze up the most when they don’t know what to expect, but if you are prepared, you won’t!
  • Show interest and enthusiasm. People forget this basic courtesy many times. At the end of the interview, let the hiring manager know after that you are very interested. Interviewing can be a lot like dating – neither party is sure how they are being read each other. If you are feeling good about how it went, ask them for a tour of office or organization so you can see where you’d be working – close it like a sale. Then ask for a business card and about the next steps – are there other people to meet with, do they need writing (or other work samples), or any additional paper work. Also, make sure you follow up with a thank you letter - an email is very appropriate. Enthusiasm is important, you want to show them you are really interested and they are the company you are interested in. It’s OK, to let them know you are interviewing elsewhere, but that this company is your #1 choice and why.

Fireman also believes that managing your social media is important. Make sure your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts are professional. Scour the internet to see if your friends have pictures or information about you that would not be appropriate for your potential employer to see.  As a part of LEAP (Linking Employers and Applicants Project), WCS and the Montgomery County Commission for Women are hosting a number of upcoming workshops at the , including “Interviewing for Success” on March 8, “High Impact Resumes” on March 10 and “Networking Made Simple” on April 14. All workshops begin at 11am.

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