Happy Friday Guys! Literally smiling ear to ear today at the thought of a fun weekend ahead. In today’s post I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned so far in my career when it comes to interviews. Now I’ll be the very first to admit that I’m certainly not an expert in HR or anything like that but since moving to New York, I’ve been lucky to interview with some pretty major brands in fashion and publishing and definitely feel like I’ve learned a lesson from each and every one. And surprisingly, it’s actually one of the topics you guys email me the most about, from how to find a job to how to prepare for an upcoming interview so hopefully you might learn something you didn’t already know.
The basics: Ok so we all know these. Arrive 20 minutes early, bring your most up to date resume, turn off your phone, shake hands, make eye contact and check yourself. I mean REALLY check yourself. One time I interviewed at a huge magazine with a lovely smear of red lipstick across my front teeth. Absolutely morto.
Wear something comfortable: This might seem blatantly obvious but I’ve seen so many girls at interviews wearing outfits that they’re seemingly uncomfortable in. Interviews are stressful enough so doing everything you can to make sure you feel comfy yet confident is key. For example, if you’re not great in heels then wear a cute pair of flats or loafers. Another thing I’ve learned about dressing for interviews is not to wear all black. When I was interviewing for my current job at Teen Vogue, I was anxiously sitting in the waiting room with another girl who was interviewing for a separate position. This girl had a friend that already worked at the brand and came out to see her to wish her luck, and when she saw that she was wearing all black she ran to the closet to grab something colorful for her to change in to! So funny right? Choosing an outfit to wear for an interview also depends on the industry you’re working in. If it’s something like an accounting or finance position then maybe you need to stick to that classy professional working lady look, but if you’re interviewing for a fashion brand, then don’t be afraid to show off your sense of personal style, keeping it classy of course.
Prepare: No matter what the interview, I think there’s always going to be a couple of questions that you know are coming your way. Mainly, “tell me about yourself” which yes, is a very simple question but having a response prepared will make sure you get your points across and will set the tone for the rest of the interview. Personally I always had a few points written out on a notecard to look over before each interview. Obviously I know everything there is to know about myself, but even having a few reminders jotted down reminded me of everything I knew I wanted to say (including the interviewers name, oh god so important to remember their name lol) really put me at ease.
Research the people you’re interviewing with: Linkedin is an invaluable source before an interview for learning about who you’re meeting. For example, I was once interviewed at a digital agency in New York and saw on Linkedin that the CEO of the company was from the same hometown as my mom AND that she did a semester abroad at NUIG where I went to college, so this was one of the first things I said at the beginning of my interview and do you know what? I think it’s the sole reason I got offered the job. Making a personal connection to the interviewer and giving them another reason to remember you can really help land you the number.
Sell yourself and show results: This is another one that may seem quite obvious, but I can’t stress how important it is to talk yourself up in an interview. I think sometimes as Irish people we tend to be quite modest about ourselves when really we’re one of the most hard working and most educated workforce out there. Interviewers love to hear about your previous successes and achievements so make sure that you’re able to quantify those and be ready to talk about how to achieved XYZ. For example, if you work in sales or social media and grew the numbers X amount in 6 months, that should be one of the first things you talk about. Same thing goes if you introduced a new initiative or strategy at your company. Hard evidence of how good you are at your job is truly indisputable. so be confident and sell yourself because if you don’t, somebody else sure will!
Look at the job description: This actually applies to your CV also, you should always make sure that information on your resume aligns with what they are looking for in the position. Highlight key words and desired skills and make sure those words appear somewhere on your resume. Bigger companies actually sometimes use computer software to narrow down candidates to find resumes with matching words on them. For your interview, carefully inspect the job description and relate all of your answers back to the characteristics and responsibilities detailed in the job description.
Know what’s going on in the industry: I can’t stress how important it is to know the latest trends in your industry when interviewing for a job. Whether it’s new software that’s being introduced on the market, new research techniques that are showing promise, or a new up and coming social media platform. Whatever it is, a quick Google search will tell you what’s happening in your industry and knowing about it will show the employer that you’re interested in the industry and knowledgeable about what’s going on and that’s invaluable.
Post-Interview: It’s imperative to send a follow-up thank you email the day after your interview. Personally I always send a hand written note thanking them for their time and affirming my interest in the company and it’s something that employers always remember, at least in my experience.
I know that nobody enjoys doing an interview, they’re nerve wrecking and sometimes even a little scary but there’s really something to be learned from from each interview process. When I first came to New York, I interviewed for a far too senior position in a field I wasn’t really interested in so obviously I wasn’t offered the job. But a few weeks later the person who interviewed me personally referred me for a another position that was much more suitable. Even if you don’t get offered the position, at least you’ve made a contact and at the end of the day sometimes that can be more valuable than the position you were originally going for!
Hopefully some of you find this helpful, and if you’re interested in more of this type of content, I’ve just added a careers section under my categories tab where you’ll find posts like How to Land Your Dream Job and My Career Path.