Alva Review-Courier -

Interviewing for a job


October 23, 2019

I’ve been thinking about job interviews lately. We’ve been a little understaffed in the news reporting area, and we’re losing a photographer at the end of this month. We’re hoping to hire someone on a part-time basis to fill in these gaps.

This started me thinking about how people prepare to be interviewed for a job. I have very little experience in that area, having worked for family in all but two jobs. In one of those, I was “inherited” when my in-laws sold the radio station where I was employed, and I had a new boss.

I’ve learned more from watching my daughter prepare for job opportunities. She’d send her resume to me and other people for proofreading and critique. Before applying, she’d have researched the company to see if the job would be a good fit. If she was called in for an interview, she’d do lots more preparation, think about questions she might be asked and carefully plan her clothing and grooming. She freely admits she’s an “over-preparer” in this area.

She has also coached her children when they began looking for jobs while in high school. All resumes had to be submitted to her scrutiny and generally had to be rewritten. She insisted that they dress well, even if they were just dropping off a resume. Then she coached them on interview skills and grooming. They quickly learned her coaching paid off.

My daughter works for the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. A few months ago, her department was involved in producing a video to help business students in job interviews. She showed me some short clips and described the fun some of the professors had in playing the parts of terrible interviewees. She expressed dismay that a majority of college students have never received help in interviewing skills. The professors were working to rectify this oversight.

A number of years ago, a man came in the newspaper office to ask about a job as a news reporter. We did not have any openings at the time, but I would never have considered this man for employment. He looked like he had just finished digging a ditch. When he shook my hand, I saw his overly-long fingernails were caked with dirt. His clothes also needed a good wash. Later, I saw some of that man’s reporting in another newspaper and was surprised at his ability. Hopefully he cleaned up well!

We used to give most job candidates a spelling test. It was a list of 25 or 30 words that are frequently misspelled. Since the words were difficult, we considered a 50 percent score to be a passing grade. In the last 15 years, we stopped giving the test. People have become dependent on computer spell checking programs, and fewer applicants could pass our test.

Although computers seem to have a bad influence on spelling ability, the internet provides a good resource when looking for tips on job interviews. I found a wealth of information. One writer provided a checklist:

• Do extensive research on the company to understand the business and anticipate the kinds of questions you may be asked.

• Research the people who will be interviewing you. The goal is to learn about your interviewer’s background and interests and role in the company to build rapport.

• Anticipate questions you might be asked. My husband used to ask interviewees what he would like best about them as an employee. Then he’d ask what he would like least. It’s a chance to describe your strengths and your weaknesses.

• Conduct a mock interview. Enlist friends or family members, especially if they have experience interviewing employees.

• Use or become familiar with the company’s products or services. It shows you went an extra step in preparing for the interview.

• Review your Facebook and other social media postings. Employers often look you up on social media sites to get information and background.

• Dress appropriately for the interview. If you’re interviewing to work as a mechanic, you probably won’t need to wear a suit. However, it’s better to dress more formally for your interview than you would on the job. Whatever style you choose, show up neat, clean and groomed.

• Arrive early and prepared. But don’t show up more than five or ten minutes early. Turn off your cell phone during the interview so you’re not interrupted.

• Bring the necessary documents. These include copies of your resume, reference letters and work samples. You might want to bring a list of questions you have for the interviewer about the job.

Even if your job interview doesn’t result in an offer of employment, consider it good practice for the next time.


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