Wednesday, March 30, 2016

4 Steps To Help You Prepare For A Civilian Job Interview

Many transitioning military service members have never experienced a formal job interview. In the military, career progression is largely determined by your demonstrated performance. However, corporate America is different. In order to advance your career, you must be able to convince an interviewer that your military experience and your track record of success are a strong fit for their organization. The candidate who can best relate his or her training, achievements, and skills to the specific needs of the position will get the job.

Presenting yourself properly makes a significant difference in whether or not you called back for a second interview, and ultimately offered the job. There are four basic steps you should take when preparing for an interview: research yourself, practice, research the company, and prepare logistically. To get started, read the tips below:

    sell yourself
During the interview, you’ll probably be asked at least one question that you didn’t prepare for. The best way to prepare for unexpected questions is to take time before the interview to review your significant accomplishments. You must analyze your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures, so that you can:

  • Emphasize specific strengths during an interview
  • Discuss specific examples or situations using names, dates and places, and
  • Sell yourself.

We recommend that you lay out your evaluations, awards, and your resume and begin organizing your experiences and associating them to common interview topics. Once you have thought about the key situations that you want to use in your interviews, practice explaining them.
  1. PRACTICE you have organized examples of your achievements (as mentioned above), we suggest writing down how you’ll explain them to the interviewer. This will make you sound more articulate, help prevent you from omitting important details, and ensure that you get across your key points. After you have written answers, you should practice giving your responses out loud, whether it is with the Orion Recruiting Team, a friend or spouse, or a video or tape recorder. Know your resume and be prepared to explain the responsibilities, roles and achievements for your prior jobs. It is much easier in an interview setting to answer questions when you’ve already practiced giving the answers.

Before the first interview, you should do basic research on the company so that you have some general knowledge about it. The information you uncover in your research will allow you to ask thoughtful questions that illustrate a strong interest and potential fit with the company. It will also show that you can take the initiative and be proactive. The second interview will require more in-depth research, and you should address any questions or issues that arose during the first interview. For any interview, take time to understand the following information:

  • Company mission, vision, and values
  • Industry
  • The company’s main products and customers
  • History
  • Corporate structure (HQ location, size, divisions, international or domestic, public or private)
  • What makes the company different from its competitors

In order for an interview to go as smoothly as possible, you must make sure you are logistically prepared. Arrive early, look sharp, and present a professional image. Make sure your attire is ready and you know where the interview is. If you can answer the following questions, you should be set for you interview:

  • When and where is your interview?
  • Who are you interviewing with?
  • Do you have a phone number to call in case an issue arises and you may be late?
  • How long are you going to be there?
  • How long does it take to get there?
  • What is the proper attire for your interview?
  • Is your outfit ready?
  • Did you remember to bring extra resumes in a professional folder (portfolio) with paper and pen?
  • Do you have a brag book (a 3 ring binder, with plastic sleeves containing resumes, evaluations, transcripts, awards)?

Any logistical misstep can cause you to be nervous or rushed. If it happens, stay calm. Remember to check yourself in the mirror before each interview. 

For more transition tips and information visit our Transition Corner or contact an Orion Recruiter to see how we can help you!

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