As winter quarter of my first year in the MPA program is coming to a close, I’ve acknowledged just how quickly these two years will pass and how soon I will be at the mercy of the professional world. Luckily, the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs has and will continue to prepare me for the reality of what lies ahead. Although the MPA program is presenting me with more opportunities than I can even imagine, it is just as important that I know how to successfully convey what I’ve learned to a potential employer. Regardless of the sector, a job interviewee must know how to impress a potential employer if he/she wants to ever get a job. This week’s blog will focus on basic tips for how to survive the interview process.
According to a link from Ohio University’s Human Resources website and personal experiences with the interviewing process, there are several tips that should be implemented to increase your likelihood of getting a job. First of all, educate yourself about the organization that you wish to work for. Doing so will allow you to better express how your qualifications could serve the organization’s mission and ultimate vision. It also demonstrates a sincere interest in what the organization hopes to accomplish.
In addition to learning about the organization, determine how your qualifications and experiences could help benefit the organization in the long run. Practice discussing a problem you have encountered with a past job or internship. Be able to identify what the challenge was, what action you took to address the challenge, and what the ultimate result of your action was. Ultimately, you should be able to relate that experience to a hypothetical situation that the interviewer may bring up during the interview.
Other seemingly shallow, but realistically equally important tips involve recommendations outside the content of the discussion between the interviewer and interviewee. Be sure to arrive to the interview five to ten minutes early. It’s even advised to practice driving the route to the interview’s location to familiarize yourself with the route and decrease the likelihood of showing up late. In addition to that, dress to impress. It demonstrates respect for the organization and your interest in making a good first impression. Be sure that your attitude matches your outfit and conduct yourself with humility and confidence. Finally, be sure to bring a prepared list of questions you have for the interviewer. Doing so demonstrates preparedness and enthusiasm for the organization’s goals. Pen and paper should also be at hand for taking notes. Extra copies of your resume and references are also suggested documents that you have with you to further demonstrate your attentiveness to your potential employer’s needs.
Overall, education and applied experiences are invaluable to the search for a career that you find personally rewarding. Although a good education lands you at the door of opportunity, you must ultimately walk through it. Mastering the interviewing process is the key to unlocking the door to your aspirations of success, whatever those may be. The best things you can do is prepare yourself as much as possible by investigating the employer, evaluating your own experiences, and discovering how to relate those experiences to the mission and vision of the employer you hope to work for.