5 Ways to Ace a Job Interview
December 15, 2015
Do you need help planning for a job interview? Follow our expert tips to stand out from the crowd. They work for just about everyone, from students preparing to enter the workforce in 2016 to alumni looking to make their next career move. Bonus tips are noted for international students.
1. No "dead fish" handshakes and slouching: Talk about a bad first impression. Every recruiter wants to hire a candidate confident in his/her work, skills, and self. When you walk into that interview room, flash your biggest smile and give your interviewer a firm handshake with the right amount of strength. No need to break bones. After you shake hands, mind your posture. Sit up straight to send a message of intelligence and confidence.
2. Articulate: Speak slowly but surely and clearly pronounce every word. Every employer needs an effective communicator.
Bonus tip for international students: You may be self-conscious about your accent in the competitive U.S. job market. Fast fact: CEOs of companies like McDonald's, Microsoft, and Kellogg's were born in another country. Keep in mind everyone has an accent, whether you're from New York, Mumbai, or Hong Kong. Your eloquence will make recruiters look past it. To practice your language skills, take free spoken English lessons online.
3. Know the benefits of diversity: In our global economy, employees from diverse backgrounds help companies enter new markets and understand cultural challenges. Diversity has to do with gender, ethnic background and race, sexual orientation, personal interests, and life experiences. Show how your worldview offers different creative ideas and methods of solving problems.
Bonus tip for international students: By attending NYIT, you have already shown the ability to adapt to changes and new environments. Share how you can help a potential employer tap into a new market or better understand a current market or demographic. Sell yourself by addressing how your foreign background and experiences will benefit the company and its clients and stakeholders.
4. Show your skills are transferable: Create parallels between your previous work experience and the job description. The company's environment, practices, and technologies might be different, but the objectives and expectations in the workplace are similar around the world.
Bonus tip for international students: Talk about the skills you used and developed while living and working abroad and how you can apply them to the current role. Whether you're an expert in ingenieria eléctrica (Spanish), génie électrique (French), or engenharia elétrica (Portuguese), you know how to design electrical systems by developing and testing components. Make note of your foreign language skills, too. They're an asset to any employer.
5. Become an expert on a topic or skill outside of your coursework or professional field: Organizations want well-rounded employees. As a Google recruiter said to NYIT students in fall 2015, "your extracurricular activities make you stand out." Discuss how your volunteer work hones your leadership skills or why your photography meetup group has expanded your knowledge and network.
Bonus tip for international students: If you're not already one, become an immigration expert. Some organizations are unfamiliar with immigration laws and the timelines and cost of hiring international employees. It's your responsibility to learn everything about F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT), F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT), H-1B Visa, work permits, costs, and procedures. Be ready to educate your hiring manager. Your ability to speak clearly about a complex topic like immigration can help you get hired and reaffirms your talent for solving problems and communicating well at work.
Remember: own the interview room. As you enter the space, tell yourself you are the best at what you do and have what the employer needs—and keep up this positive self-talk throughout your job search. Believe in your skills and success will come.
For more job interview resources, visit NYIT Career Services.