Automotive (or IT) Interview Tips that Will Make You Shine

You’ve done it! You’ve applied for the job and now you’ve got the interview scheduled. Congratulations!

And, chances are, you’re probably both excited and nervous.  If you are, it’s completely normal.  In fact, if you weren’t a bit of both, we’d say there’s probably something wrong!

What helps to calm those nerves and channel that excitement? Preparation. Being prepared is also the absolute best thing you can do to shine above the rest and nail that job interview.

So, let’s dig right into it!  Let’s talk about all the things — the obvious things and the not so obvious things — that you can do to prepare.

You know the old saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”  Take the time to make a good first impression.  All the tips and tricks we outline below will make you shine brighter, and get you closer to winning the job!

Practical Things to Help You Prepare for a Successful Interview:

  1. Dress for Success. If you feel good about the way you look, statistics say you’ll perform better.  What should you wear?  It’s simple.  Look professional.  Iron that shirt and try not to wear strong cologne or perfume.  Do you smoke?  Try not to smoke before the interview because the smell can really be offensive to a non-smoker.  Are your nails clean?  Are your shoes presentable?  Looking your best will speak volumes and make you a more confident interviewee.
  2. Take These Things with You.  Take copies of your resume, a notepad & pen (to take notes), and breath mints.  Consider chewing a mint before you walk into your interview.  Fresh breath certainly will make you feel more confident!
  3. Research the Location. Do you know exactly where your interview will take place? If not, do a bit of research to plan out your route and how you’ll get there.  And, if your interview happens in a city center, make sure you know in advance where you’ll park.  This way you don’t have to stress about getting lost, being late, and starting the interview with an embarrassing apology.
  4. Arrive 15 Minutes Early.  Yep.  Do it.  This always makes a great first impression.  If you’re late, you’ll never get a chance to adjust that first impression.  If you are early, you’ll appear conscientious, excited, and well planned.  Be early!!
  5. Turn Off Your Phone.  While waiting for your interview to start, turn off your phone.  Ringing cell phones in an interview are a big no-no.  Besides, you might be nervous, so you don’t need to be distracted by the buzzing or vibrating of a cell phone in your pocket.  How annoying!  Don’t just silence it.  Turn it off!
  6. Give a Firm Handshake.  There’s nothing worse for a first impression than a limp, lazy handshake.  Make your handshake purposeful and powerful.  This conveys the message that you are excited about being there and confident about the opportunity in front of you.  Oh, and don’t forget to use eye contact when you shake hands.
  7. Research the Company.  Go to the company website and try to learn about the team and culture.  Has the company been in the news lately?  Inform yourself as much as possible before the interview.  You’ll show that you are engaged and interested.  This goes a long way!
  8. Prepare Your Pitch.  What sets you apart? Create a list of things that you can bring to the organization in advance.
  9. Be Prepared to Answer.
    • Tell me about yourself.
    • Why do you want to work for our company?
    • Why are you looking for a new job?
  10. Stay Away from the Negative.  When you answer any of the questions above, be careful to prepare answers that aren’t negative.  Things like, “While I enjoyed my time at my last job, I’m looking for a chance to grow and learn in a position that offers career growth,” is an easy way to explain a career change.  And, most important, don’t ever speak negatively about previous managers or positions — this will only create a negative reflection of you.
  11. Don’t Ask About Money.  You want the job and a new career and that’s the impression you need to make.  Asking about money and benefits can make it seem like that’s all that matters to you.  Yes, these things are important, but for now, you’ll want to stay clear from asking about how much the position pays or the benefits offered.  There will be time for that, and your Franklin Career Coach will be able to offer you some of this information in advance.  The objective of the interview is to get a second interview or to get the job offer.
  12. Use the Right Body Language.  When practicing for your interview, practice using eye contact.  Don’t cross your arms, and be sure to lean into the conversation.  All this shows active listening which tells your interviewer that you are engaged.
  13. Slow Down.  It’s not a race.  Take the time to really listen and take the time to prepare thoughtful answers.  If you take the time to prepare thoughtful answers in advance of your interview, chances are you’ll be prepared to give thoughtful answers during your job interview.
  14. Be Prepared to Ask Your Own Questions.  Hiring managers will usually close an interview with, “Do you have any questions for me?”  Consider a question like, “Mr. Jones, please tell me, what is your perfect hire?”  Actively listen for the answer and respond with you are that person.  Something like, “OK. Yes, I understand. I can do all those things. And those I can’t, I can learn. I just know that I am the right person for this position.”
  15. Close the Interview.  Ask about the next steps and let the hiring manager know that you are excited to be considered for the position.  Consider bold statements like this, “Based on everything I’ve heard today, I am confident that I am the right person for the job. When can I start?”  Bottom line: don’t be afraid to ask for the job.
  16. Follow-up. Ever hear the expression, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”?  Send a thank-you email.  Remembering this important step can get you closer to the job offer!  Take the time to create a thoughtful thank you email or letter.  It should be brief, but you want to thank the interviewer for their time and consideration, and to express that you are very excited about the opportunity.  Let them know you are available to answer any additional questions they may have for you.  Squeak-squeak!

And there you have it! All things to help you prepare and nail that interview! So, here’s to you! Good luck —and rest assured, if you take the time to prepare for your interview, we know you’ll shine brightly!