Job Seekers Guide to making an Excellent First Impression
It is no secret that the unemployment rate is astronomically high especially in the wake of the pandemic, leaving a lot of job seekers in a state of desperation and vulnerability. In the housing market, they’d say it’s the “seller’s market” so using that same logic, it is safe to say it is the “employer’s market”.
Employers currently hold all the cards, as there are more applicants than there are positions. Employees are aware of this fact, and as a result can get flustered with the job search process. Again, using the “if you build it, they’d come” analogy synonymously with “If you send it, they’d reach out”, safe to say it does not always work in job search.
Candidates have to ensure that they have high visibility, and they make a good and lasting first impression. Some of the ways to create lasting impressions are:
To stand out in a pool of hundreds of applications, job seekers must ensure that their brand speaks excellently for them. This can be achieved by an effective cover letter and a customized resume. It is important for job seekers to note that these two job searches require them to tell their professional story in both written and verbal form, with the former being a precursor to the latter. When job seekers tell their story brilliantly through their cover letters and resumes, they make a great first impression, and they increase their chances of being able to retell the story verbally in the interview.
Another strategy which job seekers can use to stand out is knowing the accurate start of the interview process. To some, the interview begins the day of the actual onsite/virtual meeting with the hiring manager. This notion is an incorrect one, which is why some interviews are dead on arrival. Job seekers must treat the first conversation whether verbal or written with the company like the start of the interview. This is an opportunity to make a great first impression
Questions during the Interview
As a general rule, when an interviewer asks whether there are any questions at the end of an interview, there is only one answer, and that is yes. Job seekers need to prepare about three to five questions prior to the interview. The only thing worse than not asking questions during an interview is asking a shallow one. That is one without depth, or asking questions that you could have easily found responses to. On an average, there is typically time for about three questions. Job seekers should be prepared to ask two previously prepared ones, and one from something discussed during the interview. The goal is to ask questions that would make you memorable in a good way.
Just as what you do, prior and during an interview is important, how you close it, is as well. It is important to ask the interviewer for the next step(s) and timeframe. Typically, when this information is provided prior to the candidate asking, it is often a sign of a good conversation. In the event that it is not mentioned, candidates should not shy away from bringing it up. At the end of the interview, sending a thank you email is very important. This shows that you appreciate your interviewer and you value their time, you are interested in the position and lastly it offers an opportunity to make clarifications. This is the last opportunity to create that great impression, and if done correctly it increases the candidate’s visibility and their chances of landing the job.