By Carlo Valladares
Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, it plays a pivotal role in determining whether the company and applicant will make an effective match.
To help students who are interested in acing their future job interviews, LIU Post held an information session on Oct. 24 in Humanities Hall, where Geico representative Jennifer Githens gave students an informative speech on job interviews. Githens offered advice on how to prepare and execute a job interview in order to go from qualified candidate to a newly hired employee.
Students should research the company they are interviewing with and be prepared to explain what they can offer them and what they can contribute to the company. “Job interview preparation is important. Take a look at job requirements and your own qualifications for the job before your big interview,” said Githens.
Every company goes about the interview process differently, Githens said. “If you have questions, reach out before the interview and ask them.” Find out how the company likes the set up of a cover letter and resume. Githens mentioned that it’s important to try and determine if the interview will be conducted in person, over the phone, through video or in a group setting. If that is not possible, Githens advised students to try to prepare for all scenarios.
The old saying about the importance of first impressions holds true for meeting an interviewer for the first time. Githens further clarified and said, “First, Google yourself and find out what you see before the interview.”
In this day and age, constant usage of social media could backfire on the interview candidates, especially if any inappropriate material is easily found. “Geico does not check the Facebook pages of applicants, but some companies do, so you want to make sure your media sites are appropriate. That goes for email addresses and ring-back songs on your phone. You want to make sure those do not hurt your professional impression,” said Githens.
Physical impressions are another crucial factor that need to be taken seriously. Dress professionally and somewhat conservatively. “For men, suit and tie, clean shaven is always preferred, even if the work environment seems informal,” said Githens. Think neutral, conservative colors when choosing a business suit. Avoid bold colors, which can be distracting for your interviewer and can be inappropriate.
Black, navy, browns, and grays work well for suits,” Githens said. “For women, a matching suit jacket and skirt is the most formal, or dress pants. Never wear a skirt that rises more than right above the knee to a job interview. Make sure the skirt fits well enough and is long enough for you to sit down comfortably without showing your thighs. Hair, for both men and women, should be clean and styled. “Make sure you look professional and well groomed,” she added.
Proper etiquette is important. Arrive early, smile and shake hands firmly with the interviewer, and keep good eye contact. Be relaxed and friendly. Your etiquette will speak volumes. Speak confidently and avoid word fillers like, “ummm” or “I don’t know.” Most importantly, show enthusiasm. “Remain engaged throughout the interview, make eye contact, smile, but not to the point that it is a teeth whitening commercial,” Githens joked.
Zach Servino, a junior Broadcast major, said, “Githens was great. Personally, I felt that I could do well on an interview even before this lecture, but she touched up little things and things that I often forget, like cleaning up anything inappropriate via social media, and how to use proper etiquette.” If asked about anything negative in your job history or profile, do not criticize former employers. Being tactful shows prospective employers that you are professional and will not say negative things about their company down the road.
Also, do not be afraid to ask questions. Githens advised students to ask questions to show the company you are enthusiastic on how you will fit into their company.
“Ask questions like, ‘How would you describe your corporate culture?’ This is a good question because it shows you what to expect,” Githens commented.
Nick Butera, a sophomore Health Science major who attended the lecture, said, “I always knew that it was good to ask questions, however I didn’t really know what good ones to ask were. Now I know it’s good to ask questions that will show your interest in the corporation.”
Roni Badrian, the assistant director of Career Development, organized the event and said, “The lecture was coordinated and developed for students to learn from a Human Resource representative who was willing to share the ‘dos and don’ts’ of interviewing that she encounters daily. It also gave students the ability to network and find out about the upcoming job opportunities that they have available.”