As the snow melts and birds chirp, I am reminded that the peak time of job searching in student affairs in fast approaching. This post will highlight a few statistics regarding the aspect of the job search process that intimates most people: the interview. I came across an interesting InfoGraphic from Career Geek titled “What You Wish You’d Known Before Your Job Interview”. You can check it out here on their website, but here are a few takeaways:
- 33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone.
- 47% of employers say that having little or no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake job seekers make during interviews.
- 26% claim that a weak handshake is a common nonverbal mistake interviewers make.
- 65% of employers said professional dress would be the deciding factor between two similar candidates.
- 55% are impacted by the way a person dresses, acts, and walks through the door when meeting a new candidate.
These statistics highlight an important point: every aspect of the interview is critical. With that said, how can you stand out above all the others? My advice is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Please, whatever you do, don’t “wing-it”. I have heard a few people say that they do not need to prepare for an interview since they know their skills and experiences. There is a difference between being aware of your skills and experiences, and being able to tell your story in a cohesive, flawless, interesting, and effective way. For most of us, “winging-it” can lead to catastrophic effects such as babbling, using filler words (i.e. um, ugh, you know), nervousness, lack of articulation, and looking unprepared. So, how can you best prepare in order to stand out and nail an interview?
- Research yourself. Clarify the skills and abilities you have to offer and employer. Develop a list of your skills and experiences. Ask your supervisor, colleagues, and mentors about the skills they believe you possess.
- Research the position, office, and campus. Review the job description and make the connection between the preferable candidate and your skillset. Visit the office or department’s website, as well as the university’s website, to understand the mission and values, culture, resources, staff, key individuals, etc. Utilizing social media can be a useful way to gain a better understanding about a particular office or university. For instance, you can follow the office and/or university on Twitter or use LinkedIn to connect with people at that particular university.
- Prepare for questions and practice. Ask mentors or colleagues to do a mock interview with you and ask for constructive feedback. Make sure that you are thinking of the skills and experiences you want to highlight throughout the interview, as well as examples to common interview questions and questions you presume an interview will ask based on the job description. Go to your college career center’s website for sample interview questions, tips on professional dress, and other important information on interviewing. If you would like another resource, I recommend visiting Stanford University’s Career Development Center’s tips on interviewing.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Jake Nelko at email@example.com.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Stacy Oliver-Sikorski on Professional Development