Simple Tips for an Effective Job Interview

by Corrine
(Dallas, IA)

I spent 14 years working for the Personnel Department of a die casting company. During that time I was responsible for interviewing and hiring numerous factory employees. It always amazed me at how many people who came in for a job interview really didn't seem to want to work very bad.

It really turned me off when a potential employee started asking me about taking time off.

Note from Lisa: For tips on how to fill out a job application and a downloadable blank employment application form that you can use for practice, please see the article Blank Employment Application.
For starters, when you go out to look for a job, be prepared to fill out the application completely and truthfully. If you can't remember dates or how to spell something, write it on a card that you can keep in your wallet or purse. Misspelled words on a job application can cost you a chance at the job. If you are unable to write legibly, be sure to practice. If a potential employer can't read what you wrote, they won't consider you for a job.

When a company employee calls you to set up an interview, do your best to work around a time that's convenient for them. If you tell them you can't come in until 5 p.m. when they get off work at 4, you risk losing the job opportunity.

Show up for the scheduled interview on time and looking clean and neat. Depending on the type of work your looking for, you don't necesarily need to go out and invest in a suit, but wear the best you have and make sure it looks clean and pressed.

If you arrive late for the interview, you'd better have a darn good reason. Otherwise, the employer will probably think of you as someone who will have a tardiness problem if you're hired. Don't go too early, but definitely don't be late.

Answer all of the interviewer's questions honestly. If you left your previous job because you were fired, you don't have to dwell on the topic, but you also shouldn't lie about the situation. Most interviewers realize that personality conflicts do happen sometimes. Just don't run up a record of being fired from job after job, because that will be hard to explain away.

Prepare a list of questions in advance that you want to ask if they aren't covered in the interview. Do your homework and be sure you know what kind of business the company you're applying to work for does. If the company produces die castings, don't spend a lot of time telling about how well you know how to fly a hot air balloon.

Make sure the interviewer knows that you are really interested in working for their company. It isn't always a good idea to name people you know that already work there. If you mention a bad employee, it isn't going to make them want to hire you. However, it's fine to mention people who you know will give you a good recommendation.

Be a good listener. Don't let your mind wander and then turn around and ask the interviewer the same question he or she had just gone over.

Finally, be true to yourself and your own best interests. If the job you're being considered for isn't something you're really interested in giving your best efforts for, turn it down if offered. If you aren't happy in what you're doing, it will show in your work and your attendance.

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