Job interviews: One date at a time

“It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.”

 – Carlton Fisk

Ah, the joys of summer! Sun, sand, friends…and finding a new job. The job hunt for students can often be split between those who had graduated the year before and now looking for full time work and those still studying and needing a casual or part time position to meet their expenses. Whatever the situation may be, the search for gainful employment is daunting for anyone.

Job Interview

Job Interview

Endless hours are spent researching, filling in applications and writing cover letters. The hardest part however is yet to come: the job interview. Being offered a job interview creates a mix of emotions – you were outstanding enough on paper to impress your potential employer (joy, pride) and so they want you to come in and prove yourself in person (pure, debilitating fear).

After going through a significant amount of interviews for jobs ranging from A (advocacy) to Z (Zumba instructor), I’ve realised that job interviews are actually quite beneficial and a great learning experience. For me to reach this realisation and quell my fear, I developed a coping strategy – pretend that the interview is a first date.

Dating is something most of us can relate to and if you’re a young female like myself, you are bombarded with “dating tips” from the media, friends and eager family members. If seen from a different perspective, these tips can make excellent career advice. Let us mine this wealth of advice and use it to guide us through the tumulus world of the job interview:

Be on time and dress to impress

Double check the location of the interview the night before and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Being late will make you even more stressed than you may already be and make a bad first impression. Arrive early, sit there with a magazine and let yourself relax.

Whether we like it or not, the way we dress has a strong influence on the first impression we make. Choose something you are comfortable sitting in for an extended period of time and appropriate to the position you are applying for. It is better to be over rather than underdressed.

Come prepared with conversation

Awkward silences are well, awkward. Just like on a date, during the interview you will need to talk and more often than not you are expected to ask questions. Research the business or company you are applying for and list areas of interest to you.

Possible questions could of course relate to the position you are applying for, but also to the running of the company, its employees and the future of its operation. Not only is that a good way to let someone else do the talking for a little while but it also shows that you are interested and proactive.

Honesty is the best policy

No good relationship is ever founded on a lie. While the interview is created for you to impress your an employer, you need to be honest about your skills and experience. Lies can usually be easily spotted and can have a negative bearing on your future career.

Be upfront

Be honest also about your needs and desires. The job interview is as much about showing yourself as it is about finding out more about the sort of job and company you applied for. If you are looking for flexible hours, higher pay or a progression in your career – the interview is a good forum to make it known.

Say thank you

Just like you would send a message to your date to thank them for a nice time. The world is a small place is and so it is worthwhile to leave on a positive note. Sending a short email to thank the interviewers for the opportunity to come in will not only give you good karma but may potentially clinch the deal!

By Valeriia Minigoulova
Australia's Student Newspaper, trying to Improve Student Life. We publish articles written by students from across Australia and the world!

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