Interview tips

These tips are courtesy of Alison Green. She’s the author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development. You can read the full article here.

1. After you submit your resume, wait a few days and then call to schedule an interview. Job-seekers don’t get to decide on scheduling an interview; employers do, and it’s overly pushy to pretend otherwise. Employers would spend all day fielding calls if the hundreds of applicants who apply for any given position were to call to follow up. It might be hard to accept, but once you apply, the ball is in the employer’s court.

2. Arrive early for interviews. It’s smart to give yourself a buffer against being late, but don’t walk into the company’s reception area early. Most interviewers are annoyed when candidates show up more than five or 10 minutes early, since they may feel obligated to interrupt what they’re doing and greet the person, or feel guilty leaving a candidate sitting in their reception area for too long. Instead, if you’re early, kill that time in a nearby coffee shop, or even in your car if you need to.

3. Don’t name a salary number first. Job-seekers used to be advised to avoid naming a salary figure first when the topic comes up in order to avoid accidentally under-selling themselves. But these days it’s often impossible to avoid doing so. Since employers increasingly use online application processes that require candidates to input a desired salary before they can proceed, job-seekers need to be ready to talk money—which means being prepared with a salary range based on research about what comparable positions pay in your particular geographic area.

4. Ask for the job. While this kind of hard-sell tactic might have worked in the past, these days employers don’t want to feel they’re being sold. Hard-sell tactics put your interviewer on the spot and can come across as desperate. Interviewers like to think they’re hiring the best person for the job, not the most aggressive. Instead, what works better is to treat the interview as a collaborative process where you’re both concerned with finding the right fit.

Do you have tips for job hunters? Check out CAI’s Job Market:

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