The job market is has been pretty weak for the past few years, which means that job hunting has become rough. With both employment rates and salaries dropping for new college grads, finding a rewarding job may be harder than you’d like. And the outlook isn’t much better for people already in the workforce-young professionals who’ve been laid off are in the same boat as new grads when it comes to finding work. Many people have returned to school through an online university or a local college to boost their resumes, which has improved the lot of some, but finding a job is still a challenge.
If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, you’ll need to be prepared for anything-and that includes some funky interview tactics. Crafting a plan for successful interviewing, from first contact to post-interview communication, is the best way to make sure you have a fighting chance at landing the kind of job you want.
Do your homework and research the company you’re interviewing with. This may mean scouring their website for the company’s history, e-mailing the HR director or interviewing rep for more information, or talking to current employees. Researching the company before your interview can also help you avoid being over- or underdressed-fewer companies are expecting suits and ties, and knowing the company culture ahead of time can help you fit in. What’s important is that you go into your interview knowing as much as you can about the company, the job opening, and how your potential job fits in with the company’s overall mission.
Chances are you won’t encounter the weirdness listed in the illustration below, but you may get some out-there questions. Here are a
• If you could be any superhero, who would you be?
• How do you weigh an elephant without using a weighing machine?
• Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 how weird you are.
• How many basketballs can you fit in this room?
Questions like these might seem like the interviewers are trying to catch job candidates off-guard-and they are. Most questions like these are supposed to show how well you think on your feet, how creative you can be, and how adaptable you are. If you get a question that makes you scratch your head, don’t be afraid to give an appropriately strange answer. It’s a safe bet that they don’t expect you to know the answers-though, if you do, that would be really impressive.
Once you’ve made it through the interview, the most important thing you can do is follow-up with a personal note to everyone you talked to during your interview. Sending thank-you e-mails used to be a faux pas, but it’s perfectly fine-as long as you send them no more than a day or two after the interview.
If you end up landing the gig, it’s time to celebrate-of course, with the job market being the way it is now, there’s a chance you might not get the job. If you find yourself staring at a “your qualifications don’t match our needs” e-mail, accept it and move on. Rejection always stings, but each interview you do is a learning experience. Putting all your eggs in one basket is a recipe for disaster, so make sure you keep your options open when it comes to job hunting. Bottom line: When you’re getting ready for an interview, be prepared for anything and everything, from start to finish.