Advice for Millennial Job Seekers
There's prepared, and then there's really prepared. And when you're going on a job interview, you need to turn it up a notch in the preparedness department. Why? Because when we're prepared, we feel relaxed, capable and confident. Exactly how you want to feel when you go for an important job interview.
According to Lindsey Pollak, millennial workplace expert and author of Becoming the Boss: New Rules For the Next Generation of Leaders, "Cultivating confidence is key. When you're prepared, you're expressing your best self." We asked Pollak her advice for millennials on how to go from good to great (maybe even excellent!) on their next interview. Here are three important strategies she shared with AOL Jobs.1. Overprepare for everything. Whether it's an interview, career fair or meeting for an "informational" coffee, research everything. Google the company's CEO, look at their Twitter feeds, dig into anything that gives you background information about the company. Also important is to study the most common interview questions. Nine times out of ten, you will get a sampling of the following: "Tell us why you would like to work for this company?" "What are your strengths?" "What are your weaknesses?" "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
Do a search on the 20 most common interview questions and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. In this day and age of unlimited data at your fingertips, there's no reason you can't be completely prepared. The number-one complaint from job recruiters? Candidates who don't take the time to research the company. "Don't wing it," says Pollak. "Remember the feeling you had when you prepared for that test in college and you aced it? Same thing here – bring that same drive and energy to your interview."
2. Fill your gap. Deep down, most of us are pretty savvy about what we're lacking and what's holding us back. Do yourself a huge favor and do an honest assessment of what you don't know and where your blind spots could be. Is it Excel? Powerpoint? Public speaking? How you dress? Whatever the gap you may have, take action. Take a class, read a book on the subject, watch a TED talk, listen to a podcast. You'll get the information you need, but you'll also boost your confidence because you took that step.
"When an interviewer asks, 'What's your biggest weakness?' Don't give the old 'I tend to work too hard' response," says Pollak. Instead, now you can answer honestly by sharing your weakness, but also what you are doing to address it.
3. Work on your personal brand. First impressions are powerful. Your appearance, how you introduce yourself--and let's not forget your social media presence--are ways that potential employers will form an initial reaction to you. Make it count. Do a wardrobe intake. Regardless of your industry, you want to present the best version of yourself.
The same goes for social media. Are all of your profile pages reflective of the real you and present you in a way that you feel comfortable with? And lastly, when someone says, "Tell me a little about yourself?" are you prepared? "This is one of the toughest questions for people to respond to," says Pollak, "and so important in terms of establishing who you are."
4. Bonus caveat. After all the preparing, if you feel like an impostor, maybe this company is not the right fit. "If you are someone who cherishes work/life balance and you're interviewing at a high-powered investment bank, you will probably have a tough time of it," says Pollak. "If you can't be yourself, it's just not the right fit."