Like a lot of tech firms, we’ve been making a number of hires recently. There are some great candidates on the market, including recent college graduates. But it’s surprising how many people mess up the most basic aspects of applying for and getting a job.
Here are ten tips for getting hired:
1. DO what is asked. Read the job listing carefully. If the listing asks for a cover letter then write a cover letter. It’s crucial to be able to follow direction, especially if you are going after an entry-level position.
2. DO your research. If you get an interview spend as much time as possible learning about the company and the industry. You should also know everything you can about the people you will be meeting with, including the CEO. I like to spend at least a few minutes with everyone we hire so be prepared.
3. DO arrive on time. Don’t show up to an interview all sweaty and frazzled because you didn’t give yourself enough time to get to the appointment. Interviews can make people stressed out so arrive a few minutes early and give yourself some time to get composed.
4. DO have relevant experience. It’s easier to be employed in a position that is relevant to the one you’re interviewing for. If you currently work in an unrelated job then have a good story as to why you are qualified to make the leap. If you are unemployed then talk about how your previous experience prepared you for the position you want.
5. DO ask relevant questions. During an interview it’s always nice to get a couple of smart questions from the candidate about the business we’re in. This shows that you’re interested in what we are doing. But don’t overdo it and flip the whole interview around. And DON’T bring up compensation until the employer broaches the subject.
6. DO stay focused. Don’t check your phone for messages or shift around a lot in your chair. Maintain comfortable eye contact during the interview and good posture.
7. DO show enthusiasm. It’s important to show that you’re enthusiastic about the position, the company and the industry. And remember to smile—no matter how nervous you may be.
8. DO dress appropriately. We’re staffing a tech startup—not a nightclub—so don’t wear a shiny suit or show a lot of cleavage. A hiring manager needs to add people that can fit in with the rest of the their team.
9. DO stay positive. An interview is not a therapy session. Denigrating your current employer is unprofessional and can make a prospective employer wonder if someday you will do the same to them.
10. DO follow up promptly. I met with some candidates recently and only a couple sent a follow up email. Guess which ones are more likely get an offer?
The entire hiring process is part of a larger test—it’s not just about the interview. Do these ten things right and you’ll be more likely to land the position you want.