When you’re on the job hunt, having a ton of interviews can get exhausting—especially if they don’t lead to an actual job. Roughly 60% of all job hunters undergo three or more interviews before receiving an offer.
However, according to a recent survey by Right Management, only 3% have one interview before landing a job. After all, most employers consider four to five candidates for a job opening. If you’re in that pool, you have a 75-80% chance of not getting the job. And if you don’t find yourself in any second round interviews, you might want to re-evaluate how you present yourself.
Here are some tips that may help you stand out from the pack.
- Double check your resume and cover letter for typos. Since you’ve made it to the first interview, there is something about you that they like. But perhaps you didn’t proof your resume To have a typo is human, but it may be what makes the difference between you and the people they call in for a second interview. Have a friend go through it with a fine-toothed comb—there may be a small error you haven’t seen.
- Find the best references. You may sail through the interview and have the perfect resume, but if you don’t have the right references, your goose could be cooked. Find someone that you have a good relationship with, that you trust, and that will give you a glowing reference. And, don’t make the mistake of putting a person down as a reference without checking with them first. Consider what Dr. Cynthia Nichols, a professor at Oklahoma State University, has to say on the topic, “You’d be surprised how often college students don’t even ask me for a reference and just put my contact information down. I’ll get a phone call and have to wrack my brain to remember who, exactly, this person is referring to. I’m sure it doesn’t help the job candidate when my answer has a very pregnant pause to it. I’d love to help, but when a student doesn’t talk to me about it, I can’t always remember who they are. Don’t be a face in a crowd if you want a reference. Make sure you connect with me before you want a reference.” Remember, not all job references are going to say good things about you. If you find any problems there, here’s some advice on how to try to mitigate that.
- Practice & Prepare. Before you go in for the actual interview, conduct a mock interview with a friend. This will help you get through the jitters and allow you to think through some of the questions. Have your friend record you so that you can see if you have any odd habits. Research information about the company beforehand, and prepare some questions that might be asked during the interview. Practicing your answers ahead of time can help when you’re trying to demonstrate why you would excel at the job.
- Get some feedback. Before you go on the interview, reach out to people who you have worked for in the past. Pick their brain for 20 minutes and find out how you can improve your interview skills. Not everyone is comfortable with giving criticism to people, but if you reach out to enough people, you’ll be able to find someone who will give you honest (and helpful) feedback. You may not like to hear honest feedback, but it might help you get yourself to the next level.
- Figure out who has been hired before. The beauty of the internet is that everyone has a footprint. So go online and do your research. First, look at the jobs you interviewed for and didn’t get. Who did they hire? What about their background is different? You might learn that the people who are beating you out have more experience or a different type of background, and that information can help inform your thinking about what types of jobs to pursue. Next, look at the company where you’re about to interview. Who works there now and how do they present themselves? You can learn a lot with a little searching on LinkedIn.
- Present the best you possible. Your appearance during the interview indicates your seriousness about the job. As soon as you walk into the building, you are being evaluated. So, put your best foot forward and present yourself well. Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert and best-selling author, agrees. “On a job interview, your attire makes a statement about yourself before you even open your mouth,” she says. “A scuffed shoe, a messy bag, or a low cut shirt can speak volumes. You need to wear your ‘power outfit.’ Have a favorite skirt that always makes you feel great when you wear it? Why not pair that with a blazer? It’s okay to show off your personality through your clothes, as long as you aren’t wearing a lime green mini skirt. Stick to business-professional looks.” When it comes down to it, you want to dress for success.
- Breathe. Perhaps you’re just stressed out during the interview. If you’ve been on the job hunt for a while, you may feel frustrated. Although that’s normal, it is also something and interviewers pick up on. Take a deep breath, and sell yourself. There is a job out there for you, so don’t stress out so much that it kills the interview. Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. Just read the room, breathe, and show enthusiasm, presence and passion for the job. You can do this. Remember, there’s a reason you’re there.
Do you have any tips about how to get to the second interview or land the job? Share your examples in the comments section below!
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