By Bridgid Joseph
Changing jobs can be a stressful process for some because of the dreaded interview process. But there are a few pretty simple tips that can help put you, and your interviewer, at ease to make for a much better experience, and lead you closer to that new job you’ve been wanting! Stop letting the interview process paralyze your career.
For most people, the worst part of thinking about changing positions, or getting a new job, is the interview process. Maybe you are someone who gets nervous and sweats, shakes, or just can’t focus on the questions being asked, which makes the interviewing process torturous for you, something you dread, and guess what?
If you feel awkward and uncomfortable, so does the person interviewing you. As someone who has moved around quite a bit, interviewed for numerous jobs, and scored an offer each time (not to toot my own horn), I have learned some tricks to interview well, that are applicable to most people. And as someone who now interviews applicants, I have a whole new perspective of what and interviewer “sees” during an interview; there are some small Do’s and Don’ts that can make you appear more poised and ready than you may feel!
DO Dress the Part:
Even though you may be coming in for an interview for your first job as a nurse, Medical Assistant (MA), Patient Care Technician (PCT), etc. you want to dress as if you are coming in for a job as a Director or the Chief Nursing Officer. I am not telling you to spend a ton of money on some fancy suit, but you want to look nicely put together with clothes that fit you well and look nice.
I was walking from my car to an interview and I was wearing these great fitted pants that I found on sale at one of my favorite stores and couldn't believe they were 60% off, they looked great, fit great, and with a top that I already owned, and a pair of smart black shoes, I felt (and looked) like a million bucks. Until I tripped a little, looked down, and realized the hem gave away on one of my pant legs (probably why such an amazing pair of pants were on such a super sale in my size), so I acted quickly, hobbled quickly to my car, did a little “runway” hem with some tape that I had in my car (i.e. I taped up the hem inside of my pants), and went back on my way.
Even though it was a bit of smoke and mirrors show, no one knew that my pants were taped together, and I even got complimented on how great my outfit looked. You don’t need to spend a lot, to look like a lot, but looking neat in nicely fitting clothes, shows that you are putting in the effort to put your best foot forward and show yourself in the best light.
DON’T Dress for a Night Out or a Day of Work:
If you are applying for a clinical job, yes it is awesome that we get to wear scrubs to work everyday, and it does make those of us that work clinically, at a deficit for “business” attire in our wardrobes, but it doesn't make it acceptable for us to wear scrubs to an interview. You also want to make sure that you aren't wearing something that you would choose to wear out to a bar/nightclub with your friends.
I have seen quite a few outfits in my time that make me think twice about the applicants common sense. Don’t make the interviewer question your common sense; that means you have set yourself up to have to prove your intelligence and critical thinking skills, despite what your resume might say!
(I realize I put this in twice, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people really inappropriately dressed for interviews!!)
DO Have Good Posture:
Did you know that sitting straight up and keeping your shoulders back make you appear smarter, attentive, and more of a leader?
Well, it does. I may be interviewing you for a position in an entry level, but I am more apt to hire someone that shows me they can be a leader within their position and will work hard and role model their leadership skills. And if they stay in their position, they will hopefully move up the ranks quickly.
DON’T Oversell Yourself:
A big mistake interviewees make is overselling their skills. If you don’t have a certain skill set for a job you are interviewing for, that’s OK. Not everyone is an expert in their field when they first start, right?
We all start somewhere. So when you are asked, for example, “How comfortable are you taking care of a patient on with an intraaortic balloon pump?” and you think “A WHAT?!?!?”
Don’t sweat it, and give an honest response such as, “I haven’t had the experience of taking care of such a patient, but I have extensive other skills, such as [insert skills here] that I learned quickly, and I would love the opportunity to learn more about those patients and their specific needs. Is this a common patient type on your unit?”
You do two things with that answer...
You let me look back at your resume to review your skills, and you also show that you are interested in this experience and willing to learn. I may be looking for a more experienced nurse, but I will definitely consider you and your willingness to learn as a huge asset; I would rather hire someone motivated to learn and improve than someone who is stagnant in their learning process and no longer feels excited about their role.
DO Be Honest on Your Resume:
Sometimes it is glaringly obvious when people tell mistruths on their resumes, and sometimes it isn't, but it usually becomes obvious during an interview. I have had perspectives that added some skills into their resume that they don’t have, and through standard interview questions, it got quite awkward as I realized they did not have the skills they boasted about. (see don’t oversell yourself!)
DO Be Positive:
As with all experiences in life, if you walk in feeling positive, confident, with a big smile on your face, and an open mind, you can win over almost anyone! There is no need to be nervous as the worst thing that can happen is that the job isn't a match; so think positively and imagine that you already have the job, and your interview will be a great experience.
If you want a change in your career/life, send out those resumes and get your interview smile on and go get that new job!