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Job Interview Success Tips

Mar 15, 2016 04:46PM ● Published by Staff Writer

(Family Features) For recent grads and young professionals, first job interviews are a crash course in interpersonal skills, thinking on one’s feet, and the danger of mistakes. To ease the learning curve a bit, use these tips to take smart notes during your job interview, answer questions intelligently, schedule the second (or third) interview and, of course, land your perfect job.  

What is the interviewer looking for?

A job interviewer knows that a recent grad will not have a wealth of direct experience to bring to the interview. Instead, the person sitting across the table from you is asking you questions to gauge your future potential and critical thinking skills. Interviewers are looking for:  

  • How you process information  

  • How you analyze problems  

  • How you formulate solutions

  • Cultural fit with the company

The notes you take in the meeting will help you process the information that the interviewer is sharing, help you organize your thoughts so you can then share your problem-solving skills during the interview, and be used later in your thank you email and subsequent interviews.  

Noteworthy information

You want to appear engaged in the meeting and capture notes that will help you remember key information.

It’s a delicate balance. Take too many notes and you’ve missed part of the conversation and you aren’t making eye contact. Take too few notes and you have no documentation of the meeting. By taking notes in bullet point form with a digital notepad such as the Bamboo Spark, you will have a complete overview of the relevant points of the interview, including:  

Information about the company  

  • Challenges of the role and for the company

  • Details related to the job

  • Questions you may have from the interview  

  • Cultural items to which you have a connection

Immediately after the interview, find someplace quiet and take additional notes on anything you missed during the interview. Notes could include: impressions of the interviewer, next steps or cultural insights you didn’t want to document in the moment.  

What to do with your notes

During the interview, use your bullet points to bring your solutions to the challenges of the company back into the conversation. This shows that you are actively listening and processing the information offered.  

After the interview, follow up with a thank you email. In this email, expand on a few of the solutions you offered to the company’s problems and mention any cultural areas in which you think you might have a fit.  

If you are offered a second or third interview, go back to your original notes and rewrite them in narrative form. This will help you prepare for your next interview. In each interview, your responses should build on the information of past interviews. Your answers should be more thoughtful and better informed, proving that you are able to consume information, process it, and offer solutions.  

Seal the deal  

When interviewing there is one big element you can’t control: the interviewer’s personality. Observe the interviewer as much as you are being observed. Learn about that person and sell yourself to that individual. Listen to their questions and tailor your answers to that specific person, not the canned answers you’ve prepared in the mirror.  


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