We all know the job interview basics: arrive on time, dress professionally, and be prepared for the questions they might ask. These days, however, employers are judging you on other things that you might not even be aware of. Here are some important things to keep in mind when you’re interviewing for any job.
Your Facebook is Not So Secret
The information age has given us unprecedented access to, well, information. The Internet provides us with insane amounts of knowledge, which is generally considered a good thing. There is such a thing as too much information, however. Personal online presence has exploded with the rise of Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter, meaning that most people today have some sort of online identity that represents their real life identity. We post pictures and updates of our vacations, day-to-day activities, families, friends, parties—everything. Many people don’t realize that what they’re posting online is often not only visible to their selected friends; unless you’re really careful, it’s visible to pretty much anyone. If you posted pictures of that crazy night out with all those tequila body shots, keep in mind that your future employer might see them one day.
Say you only exchange private messages with people and adjust your settings so that only a few select people can see your pictures and info—you’re safe, right? Wrong. These days, some employers actually have the gall to ask for the Facebook passwords of potential hires. If you really want the job, you might end up handing it over, but keep this in mind: do you want to be working for a company that would be so disrespectful of your privacy? Sometimes you might not have a choice. Regardless, always remember that your online presence is anything but private.
Own the Room
Even if you’re the most qualified and talented applicant, you still should make a striking impression on the interviewer in order to really stand out. The human brain is a complex beast, and we’re influenced by the even the most subtle of stimuli. For example, say you’re 100% confident that your past experience, references, and education are more than enough to land you a job. If you walk into that room, however, and the interviewer is not impressed by your demeanor, your chances could be doomed.
So how can you make a good impression? Eye contact is absolutely essential, as it conveys confidence and shows that you’re fully engaged. A smile is another great way to show your enthusiasm, and serves to break the initial tension. Also, remember to stand up straight! This increases your physical presence and makes you appear more confident. If you walk in with a great resume and an impressive physical demeanor, you may have everything you need to land your dream job.
Your Time Off
Like so many in this economy, chances are you’ve been struggling to find a job for some time. You might not have considered that employers don’t just look at your employment history—they want to know what you’ve been doing with all your time off. If you’ve mostly been playing video games and eating Cheetos during your unemployment, find a way to spin it. You could talk about how you’ve had time to really reflect on who you want to be, spend quality time with your family, and set goals for yourself. Even better, though, is if you’re proactive during your unemployment phase. Get out there and do something! You could try volunteering, which shows depth of character. Maybe you could go back to school and take classes in your particular area of interest. You could even earn a degree to make yourself more hire-able; for example, if you’re in the business world, an may really give you a leg up.
David Price, a freelance writer from San Jose, is primarily focused on writing about career development and business growth. Some of the more recent posts David has written have been focused on online business degree programs and networking tips.