This year, millennials surpassed Gen X as the largest generation in the American workforce. Though they’re taking the business world by storm, many millennials struggle with one of the most important parts of professional life: interviews.
The way that people search, apply and interview for jobs is completely different than it was ten years ago. The advice your parents gave you about firm handshakes and eye contact is still relevant, but there are many other factors at play that can make or break an interview.
As the president and CEO of a Maryville Public Relations agency, the way a candidate presents themselves to me shows me how they would present themselves to our clients. Your actions and attitude shouldn’t just get you the job, it should translate to me how you are going to perform after the offer letter has been signed.
Here are four tips millennials should keep in mind when they’re on the job hunt:
- Do your research. With the endless amount of information available online, there’s no excuse for not doing enough research to know the basics about the company you’re interviewing with and the person who is conducting your interview. LinkedIn is a great way to learn about your interviewer’s background and experience, and Glassdoor can help you gain more insight into the company’s work environment. Make sure you’re familiar with any major initiatives the company is currently working on, and try to bring those up in your conversation.
- Make a good impression. Unfortunately, too many millennials underestimate the power of the first impression. Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early for your interview – even running just a minute or two late makes you seem unprofessional. You should look poised and confident, both in your apparel and in your body language. Make eye contact, speak in clear, concise sentences, and don’t forget to smile.
- Ask smart questions. When the interviewer says “Do you have any questions?” at the end of your conversation, it’s an opportunity to show that you’re the right candidate for the job. Take the time to find out more about what the job entails and what qualities their ideal candidate possesses, and ask questions about the company’s short and long term future. Saying that you don’t have any questions is never a smart move, so prepare a list of three to five questions before every interview.
- Nail the follow up. Your actions after the interview can be just as influential as how you conduct yourself during the interview. Immediately after your interview, send a handwritten thank you note that reinforces your interest in the position and the company. Include a specific example of something you learned and say that you’re looking forward to hearing more. If you don’t hear anything within a week, follow up with a short, polite note via email. Don’t just say thank you either, make sure you reinforce, using active voice, why you’re the perfect candidate for the position.
Looking for a job is usually a difficult process. It’s hard to get your resume in front of the right people, and it’s even more difficult to get invited to an interview. Ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward in your interview by doing your research and asking good questions.