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Millennials: No-Brainer Tips For Your Job Interview
DULLES, Va. (10/8/13)--Young job seekers are in trouble. According to a report just released by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, young people make up a much larger share of America's unemployed population than they do of the work force. And the job market is getting more competitive: By 2020, more than 65% of jobs will require more than a high school degree (Huffington Post Sept. 30).

If you're a recent grad fortunate enough to land an interview for a white-collar job in this economy, it's important not to alienate the people who could be signing your pay check.

Although much about the interview is out of your control, these suggestions might help you make a better impression with a prospective employer:
  • Think of the interview as a sales event. The interview environment is still traditional. Dress appropriately, and avoid slang and casual language. Human Resource executives say that quirks such as taking calls or texting during an interview, bringing a parent or even a pet, and other formerly taboo behaviors have become more commonplace during the interview. Make no mistake--those stunts will rule out otherwise qualified candidates.
  • Show your interest in the position, the company, and its culture. Learn all you can about the position. Look at the company's website, and check out past and current projects. Get a general sense of the office culture. Appear interested and engaged.
  • Don't discuss your personal life in detail. Less is more when it comes to personal drama. The employer is only thinking about how your aptitudes and accomplishments can help the company meet its objectives.
  • Ask questions. When it's your turn to ask questions at the end of the interview, find a way to relate to the interviewer. For example, come prepared with a question about the boss's career by digging in to LinkedIn or a website bio.
To become a "wow" candidate, when it's your turn to share, turn your focus to the industry in general. Read relevant news and put the company in context with the latest headlines. Then come prepared to offer your own ideas.
 
For more information about handling your financial life after being a student, read "The Time Has Come...To Get a Job" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.
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