Five Tips When Interviewing
As I discussed in my last blog post, Engage! Cleveland recently hired our new Marketing, Events & Development Manager. After reading through 175 resumes, next on my to-do list was to schedule phone and then in-person interviews. For several young professionals, it has been awhile since you’ve sat in a professional development course where someone has reminded you of all the do’s and don’ts of interviewing. Thus, I wanted to share more tips to keep in mind on your next job search:
- Parking situation – Understand the parking situation and leave early. Sure, you might not have the time to take off work to attend an interview and it may look awkward, but don’t try to squeeze it in during a long lunch. Take the time to arrive early, secure parking and be ready to go. We conducted half of our interviews at a location in downtown Cleveland. One person was 25 minutes late for their interview because there was traffic, parking was a challenge to find, among other obstacles. Not only did this tardiness reflect poorly on the individual, it only provided them with 35 minutes for an interview.
- The job – Make sure in advance you truly want the job before taking an interview slot. One of the individuals who excelled at their phone interview was in a master’s program for higher education and working at a college. My first thought, “Why the change into the nonprofit sector?” Of course, I asked to ensure their interest in nonprofit work was genuine. The explanation was thorough and believable, thus I granted an in-person interview, only for the candidate to reach out the day before to cancel and explain they did want to stay in higher education. Time is precious. If you have a change of heart, notify the organization as soon as possible, so that the spot could be filled with the next best candidate.
- Copies of your resume – Bring them and don’t forget extra copies! You never know how many people will be in the room and whether, they will have copies. Take a few minutes to print them and bring them with you.
- Follow-up –Make sure you send a thank you via email or postal mail as soon as possible. Often hiring decisions are being made quickly and you want to be sure to show your continued interest.
- Be graceful - When you don’t get the job –it’s tough to hear that you didn’t get a position you were hoping for. However, replying in a positive, professional manner will go a long way. Always, send a thank you email, even ask what you could have done better. Interviewing can be tough but it’s also a learning process. It’s the perfect opportunity to better yourself and grow as a professional.
Ashley Basile Oeken is President of Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to attract, engage and retain young, diverse talent to the Greater Cleveland area