A few months ago I realized I need to find a part time job. After filling out some very looong applications (why do I even have a resume if they’re going to make me write it all out again?) I got a couple of interviews.
Interviewing for a job can be tough, especially if you’ve never done it before. Having been on many interviews in my life so far, I’d look to offer you some tips to make sure your next job interview is a success.
Do: Remember to love your neighbor
It’s easy to think of your interviewer as a means to an end: they are the way you can get the job. But as Christians we need to remember that people aren’t cogs in the machine, they’re children of God and infinitely loved by Him. So a good way to start off your interview is to remember to love your neighbor, to be polite and kind to everyone you meet from the secretary to the manager.
Don’t: Be late
If you show up late, your interviewer is going to assume that you’re the kind of person who shows up late for work, and who wants to hire that person? Employers want workers who will make their lives easier, not workers who are never around and whose shifts they will have to cover.
Don’t: Dress like a mess
Whether we like it or not people judge us on the way we dress. If you show up in the same ripped jeans you’ve been wearing all week your interviewer is going to think you’re too lazy to put effort into anything—and lazy is the opposite of what they want to hire.
You probably don’t need to wear a suit for a retail job interview (save that for the post-college full-time job). A good tip is to dress like the employees do, especially the managers. Definitely don’t wear sneakers, jeans, or t-shirts, and make sure all of your clothes are laundered and wrinkle free.
Don’t: Check your texts
When your interview starts put the phone away. Make sure it’s off or on vibrate. A lot of people do it today, but in business it’s still considered extremely rude to interrupt your interview to check on a text. Not to mention most companies have policies against checking personal phones during working hours—after all, they’re paying you to work, not chat! If you do it in your interview they’ll assume you’re doing it on the store floor.
Do: Be prepared
When you walk into an interview you are saying that you can do the job — so you better know what the job is! Do some research about what the company does and what your tasks might be; then figure out what you can contribute. For example, when I interviewed at the Barnes & Noble Café they asked me questions like: “What would you do if there are no customers?” (A. Clean everything, restock supplies.) “How can you increase sales?” (A. Ask the customer if they’d also like to buy a cookie.) So if you’re going into sales, be prepared to explain how you will sell products; if you’ll be working at a doughnut shop be prepared to say your favorite kind; and if you’re working with kids be ready to talk about activity ideas.
Do: Ask questions
Even though you’re the one who’s technically being interviewed, you should be finding out more about the job to see if it’s the right fit for you. Just because you’re looking for work doesn’t mean you should take the job if they offer it to you, especially if you realize that it’s not something you’d like to do or a good work environment.
So ask questions like, “How do you train new employees?” and “What would a typical shift look like for me?”
The interview is also a good time to find out more specific details about the job like, “What time do you leave after the store closes?” and “How many hours would you want me to work?”
Do: Send a thank you
People tend to overlook thank you cards nowadays, but it’s still a good practice. I was once the only interviewee to send a thank you, and believe me, the company noticed. (I got the job.) Write out a brief note thanking the interviewer for their time, and telling them again why you think you’d be a great fit for the job. Then shoot off an email or drop off the note at the office.
Don’t: Forget to put it in God’s hands
God loves us and He wants the best for us. Once we’ve done our part we have to trust that God will do His. This isn’t always easy (especially if you’re looking for a full-time job). When I had my interview with Barnes and Noble, I also had an interview with Macys. Macys offered me a job first, but I declined because I thought Barnes and Noble would be a better fit. I had to trust that God would look out for me, because if Barnes and Noble didn’t hire me I would have to start my job search all over again.