Ace Your Job Interview: 12 Tips No One Tells You

These smart insights will help you present your best self — and nab that great new opportunity

Your family needs you to land a better job, get back in the workforce — or get your first job out of college or graduate school.

We have a businessman in the Oval Office, the economy is booming, and new jobs are being created. Companies are planning for growth and starting to hire again.

You’re a good candidate. You’ve got a good background, and excellent work ethic, and a strong resume. You’re ready — and you see advertised openings that you want to pursue. So what’s stopping you from getting it — is it you? Do you need to revamp your approach to the hiring process?

Leave your cellphone in your car or in your briefcase — and make sure it’s turned off.

I am an external recruiter, a position I’ve held since 2005. Numerous professionals have landed positions with national conglomerates and “mom and pop” businesses with my help. Being part of one of the top 50 staffing firms in the U.S. for 10 years has taught me quite a bit — and I’m sharing the knowledge below to help make a difference for you in landing a new position. Your family is counting on you!

1.) Get off the couch and get active. If you want a new position, it is not just “going to happen.” Competition for jobs, especially skilled roles, is fierce. The other guy is digging through internal or internet postings, going to job fairs, emailing his resume, and working LinkedIn. You need to do the same — and more. Think outside the box. Use social media, friends, family, and other acquaintances to find out who’s hiring, or get introductions to managers at their place of employment. A hiring manager who sees you’ve made an extra effort will place a higher value on your candidacy.

2.) Make sure your resume represents you well. This document tells the story of Y-O-U. Take time to ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date, and professional-looking. A bad resume usually reflects a bad candidate who doesn’t take the time to get this step right. Search the internet for examples — there are many resources out there for resume writing.

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3.) Know that honesty trumps appearance. I will never work with a candidate if I detect the person is being dishonest. Almost all human resources personnel feel the same way. Lying about dates of employment, education, or experience is not hard to decipher with a cursory background check or reference check. You may not get the job if you don’t have the experience — but you will not get the job if you are caught providing misleading information. This is retroactive, too. If you get a job but dishonesty on your resume is detected later, you will be terminated.

4.) Remember the interview is a sales pitch. You are both the product and the salesperson. Management is looking for a reason to hire you — give them one!

Here are a few other non-negotiable “must do’s”:

5.) Be 15-20 minutes early. This gives the interviewer flexibility to start early or yourself time to fill out an application or paperwork before the interview’s actual start-time.

6.) Dress to make an impression. You should dress per the guidance the company gives you. If none is given, a suit will not hurt your chances. Be clean and well groomed. Always have a mint at the last second before going inside, but don’t take it in with you.

Related: How Prayer Can Help Your Career

7.) Leave your cellphone in your car or in your briefcase — and be sure it’s turned off. You don’t need it ringing or distracting you in any way during your meeting.

8.) Have good energy. Be positive. Show that you are excited for this interview and job opportunity. Your enthusiasm will carry over to the interviewer.

9.) Be ready to share specific examples of your work ethic. Management positions call for examples of leadership and dealing with employees in all manners of interactions.

10.) If the position is truly worth it, make the effort required. You are your own best resource for achieving that desired new position or career.

11.) Always have some questions about the company ready to ask, based on research that you took the time to do prior to the interview.

12.) Thank the interviewer(s) and shake hands firmly while making eye contact. Reiterate your eagerness for the position. Ask for a business card to send a thank-you note. Be sure to send it — and keep it short and simple.

Related: You Just Got a Job. Now What?

Many of these points seem obvious — yet most recruiters can share horror stories of candidates violating any one of the above guidelines. Getting a job or a promotion is not usually easy, but it isn’t as hard as some may think, either.

You are your own best resource for achieving that desired new position or career.

John Cylc is a husband, father, and eight-year Army veteran in eastern Tennessee. His primary advocacy is Second Amendment rights.

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