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Shaking hands at job interview
Issa Nery 2020-1-15

Starting the year with a new career: five tips to help you prepare for job interviews

The new year is typically associated with fresh starts, setting goals, even exploring the next step in your career. With new opportunities comes preparing for the first step on the career path: the job interview.

Whether you are a young professional applying for your first job or looking to get to the next level in your career, preparing for job interviews can be nerve-wracking. We’re here to help!

More and more companies are using multiple interviewing methods—phone, video, and face-to-face interviews. To help you put your best foot forward in any scenario and land your dream job, we’ve put together five tips from some of our hardworking Western Union Recruiters and Sourcers.

Polish up your resume and online professional profile

Before you land a job interview, your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is crucial to help convince a Recruiter or Sourcer that you have what it takes for the role you are eyeing. Both your resume and online profile should contain summaries of each position, measurable accomplishments, as well as the skills you have acquired that make you the perfect fit for the job.

“It’s great if the resume is tailored for the role you’re applying for. Make sure it contains keywords that align with those outlined in the job description of the role, such as skills, activities, and responsibilities.” - Peter Lotilla, Supervisor for Regional Recruiting Operations

Preparation is the key to looking confident and professional

Before any interview, research the company. Learn as much as you can about its products or services, locations, history, and recent or key news highlights, along with outlining your understanding of the job description. These will come in handy during your interviews.

  • Prepare a list of the previous responsibilities, measurable outcomes, key successes, as well as the soft skills you can bring to the role you have applied for. Study that list to have quick talking points on hand in case you get asked about them.
  • Bring copies of your resume. Although most Recruiters and Hiring Managers will have reviewed this before they meet you, it never hurts to have your achievements on paper.
  • Understand if the interview will be over the phone, by video, or in person. Don’t be afraid to seek clarification ahead of time to ensure you’re at the right place at the right time.
  • Come prepared with thoughtful questions. This is your only chance to get answers to your burning questions, learn how the company works directly from its employees, understand the key challenges facing the team, among others.

“We appreciate questions like why the role exists in the organization, how does this role provide value to the team or department they are part of, and what are key deliverables or expectations of this role.” – Richelle Anel, Talent Acquisition Supervisor - APAC. 

Unique tips for any type of interview

Phone screens or phone-only interview

A phone screen interview is most often used by Recruiters to screen candidates for skills and cultural fit. These help narrow down those they will consider for in-person interviews with the Hiring Manager and other interview panelists. Although you may not see the Recruiter in person, you still want to make a great impression.

Phone screens are ideal, as they allow you to have your resume, company websites, even key talking points, or project materials on hand so that you can reference during your interview. Don’t be afraid to use these. They can’t see you, so give yourself every opportunity to shine in this first impression!

“When a candidate takes the time to understand the questions and then shares clear and confident answers that provide specific details to the experience they are highlighting, it helps them stand out, especially in a phone interview.” - Richelle Ann Anel, Talent Acquisition Supervisor - APAC

Video interview
You made it past the phone screen! Nice work. Now, your Hiring Manager may be located in a different country or office location, so the use of video conference technology will be used to conduct the interview.

  • Make sure you’re in a quiet, well-lit location with no distractions near you. You wouldn’t want a plant poking behind your head or an alarm clock to sound off randomly in the middle of the interview! In your planning, you might find that a quiet spot at the library or a “WeWork”-type space, is best.
  • Ensure you have a stable internet connection to avoid any lags, as well as a working laptop or phone and headset with a clear microphone.
  • Video conference programs such as Zoom and Skype allow the user to test their webcams and microphones beforehand, so check this as needed with a friend.
  • Practice your verbal and non-verbal communications. While speaking about your experiences and accomplishments, make sure your facial expressions and body language show that you’re interested in the job and the conversation you are having with your interviewer.

Face-to-face interview
For face-to-face interviews, you have many more things to consider – printing resumes, figuring out parking, and registration to arrive on time, as well as shaking hands firmly and picking up on social cues. Have these details worked out, so you can focus on convincing your hiring manager that you are the best person for the job?

  • Familiarize yourself with the area where the office is located, looking up and planning your route, and if you have time for a test run, even better! Give yourself extra time for traffic, getting lost, or additional security protocols you encounter before entering the office.
  • Confirm with your Recruiter what the dress code is for the company and dress appropriately to for the job you want.
  • A lot of interviewers use a competency-based style wherein they see if you have previous experience related to the job you are applying for. It helps to answer these kinds of questions by mentioning specific situations or tasks you encountered, how you managed, and what were the key outcomes to your actions.
  • “Be ready and anticipate interview questions. Research on the company. Familiarize yourself with the job description. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer as well as a professional level of energy throughout your conversation.” – Peter Lotilla, Supervisor for Regional Recruiting Operations
  • And, regardless of the interview method, remember your manners, thank all interviewers for their time and send a follow-up note to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager. It is one more chance to reiterate your personality and interest in the role!

A great attitude goes a long way
In any interview, all members of the hiring panel respond well to candidates who show genuine enthusiasm and clear motivations for the role he/she is applying for. They have limited time, and with business demands, they need to fill the role as quickly as possible. Aside from showcasing your skills and experience relevant for the job, showing sincere interest, having a pleasant demeanor, and asking thoughtful questions are indicators that they will provide positive feedback. Fingers crossed, these will help you land you your next career move!

Hopefully, these tips will help you plan for your next career! While you’re at it, explore your 2020 opportunities across our different Western Union offices around the world. Visit www.wu.com/careers to learn more!

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