It’s graduation season, and that means hundreds of thousands of graduates nationwide are now turning their attention to landing their dream jobs.
That may require some to move cities. Earlier this week, Deseret News National’s JJ Feinauer compiled a list of the top 25 cities in America for those starting a career. The list is comprised of cities across the U.S. that offer good job availability, sufficient wages and a strong social scene.
But before you pick up and move to a new city in hopes of finding a job, take some time to brush up on your job interview skills. After all, if you can’t make a good impression in an interview, it doesn’t matter where you’re living.
To help recent graduates get ready for their big interviews, we’ve compiled a list of five unique job interview tips. Some tips are specific to men, others are specific to women and some can be universally applied.
Bring a toolbox
This doesn’t mean taking a hammer and nails to the interview, but don’t go empty-handed, either. Be prepared with examples of previous work you’ve done that can impress your possible future employer.
“Come with a toolbox of examples of the work you’ve done,” said Steve Fogarty, a staffing partner at Waggener Edstrom. “Think of recent strong strategic examples of work you’ve done, then when the question is asked, answer with specifics, not in generalities. You should say, ‘Yes, I’ve done that before. Here’s an example of a time I did that.’ ”
Don’t wear a red tie
Listen up, men. While you want to look your best for job interviews, avoid those red ties. Recent research from Durham University found that the color red has a subconscious effect on the brain, causing the viewer to associate red with feelings of anger or aggressiveness. The study was specifically focused on men.
“The implications of our research are that people may wish to think carefully about wearing red in social situations and perhaps important meetings, such as job interviews,” said Diana Wiedemann of Durham’s anthropology department and lead conductor of the study.
Lend a firm hand
One of the first impressions you’ll make in a job interview is conveyed by the way you shake hands. While a firm handshake is a good thing for everyone to practice, it’s of particular importance for women because it makes them stand out during the interview process.
According to a 2008 study from the University of Iowa, handshakes provide an employer the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the applicant’s personality.
“Job seekers are trained how to act in a job interview, how to talk, how to dress, how to answer questions, so we all look and act alike to varying degrees because we’ve all been told the same things,” said Greg Stewart, business professor at the University of Iowa and lead researcher in the study. “But the handshake is something that’s more individual and subtle, so it may communicate something that dress or physical appearance doesn’t.”
Although women aren’t typically known for firm handshakes, it’s something they should practice before the interview, said Stewart.
“Those women seemed to be more memorable than men who had an equally strong handshake,” continued Stewart. “A really good handshake made a bigger impact on the outcome of the interview for the women than it did for the men.”
Schedule the interview early if you can
You’ve probably heard the phrase “the early bird gets the worm.” Well, the early bird also gets the job. In fact, research from Psychological Science suggests that the earlier in the day you have an interview, the more likely you are to get the job.
That's because hiring managers and interviewers are more likely to recommend people earlier in the day, researchers found.
“It seems that interviewers like to have each day’s ratings balance out,” wrote cognitive scientist Art Markman for Psychology Today. “When an interviewer sees 3 or 4 good candidates in a row, they become concerned that they are giving too many high ratings. So, if another good candidate comes walking through the door, they get a lower rating just so the ratings for the day are not uniformly high.”
Clean up your online presence
Are you active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? If so, be careful what kinds of things you’re sharing online.
Today, 91 percent of hiring managers say they use social networks to screen potential employees. And 69 percent of these managers say they’ve turned down a job applicant because of an offensive social media post.
While it’s good to show some of your personality online, be careful about posting negative comments or sharing pictures that you know you’ll regret later.
“Remove complaints about your job or boss, any confidential work information, and photos of yourself acting in a way that could be construed as inappropriate,” said Lindsey Pollak, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, in an interview with CNN.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @tstahle15