Statistics show that young people aren’t only struggling to find ‘meaningful employment’, because many are struggling to land a job at all, with rampant youth unemployment throughout the Western world ranging from a worrisome 16 percent in the US to a words-can’t-describe 56 percent in Spain.
Many reasons have been given for the inability of young people to land jobs, with 60 percent of employers in a St. Louis Community College survey saying that young applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills” and Manpower Group’s annual global Talent Shortage Survey finding that employers believe young people are lacking in appearance, flexibility, interpersonal skills, motivation and punctuality.
If a lack of these qualities is frequently cited as the most prominent impediments contributing to the inability of young people to find work, it’s imperative that young jobseekers work hard at proving employers wrong by making an outstanding impression in job interviews.
Here are a few tips for the ‘selfie generation’, ‘millennials’ motivated to land a job and enjoy a meaningful, rewarding career for themselves.
1. Research the company before attending the interview
‘Why do you want to work here?’ That’s a question you’re likely to be confronted with and you’d better have a good answer ready.
Research the company you’re applying to and take note of their products, services, recent achievements, company culture, clients, awards, projects and anything else that will help you come across as being adequately knowledgeable about their organisation.
2. Don’t arrive on time – Arrive early
Arrive early but not too early – you don’t want to be sitting there on your own looking uncomfortable with too much time to spare, but you can’t risk being late either.
When you arrive at reception, notify the receptionist of your appointment with whom and at what time and tell them you’ve arrived early, don’t want to disturb them until they’re ready and that you’re happy to wait.
3. Don’t curb your enthusiasm – Showcase your motivation
There is such a thing as being too enthusiastic, but don’t curb your enthusiasm, showcase it, show them how motivated you are though don’t make the mistake of talking too much, let the interviewer speak, don’t interrupt and listen to what they have to say.
Show the interviewer how your enthusiasm stands up to scrutiny by matching your experience and skills to their organisation and tell them why you think you’d be perfect for the job.
However, don’t make the mistake of trying to gloss over areas in which you’re lacking in experience and skills, but rather tell them that these are areas in which you’re eager to gain experience and improve yourself.
4. Dress to impress – Clothes maketh the man or woman
The first impression an interviewer will form of you is the way you’re presented, so dress to impress with the right attire and make yourself professionally presentable.
5. Hold yourself well, i.e. upright and don’t slouch
Making a good impression also entails holding yourself well, i.e. upright, not slouching when standing or sitting, and projecting an impression of confidence with the way you hold yourself.
Confident people stand upright, people with low self-esteem slouch, so project confidence with your posture at all times.
6. Avoid filler words like ‘um’ and ‘uh’
You also need to project confidence with the way you speak and filler words like ‘like’, ‘um’ and ‘uh’, although easy to fall back on when you’re feeling nervous, lost for words or a little out of your depth, should be avoided.
Instead of reverting to the use of filler words – as you’d know if you sourced job advice by Career Savvy – buy yourself a few moments with statements like ‘That’s a great question,’ or ‘I’d hoped you would ask that,” and then give them your answer.
7. Show your gratitude for their time
First impressions are usually ascribed the honour of being the most important impressions, but don’t forget to leave on a great note by thanking them for their time because gratitude goes a long way.
Proving a prospective employer wrong by taking everything he/she assumes about young graduates and turning them upside down should be a pleasure – do it well and relish the moment, though naturally resist the urge to smirk.
Author: Matthew Hobbs works on a freelance basis for Career Savvy that is owned by the eRecruit Solutions team. On the resource, you can find a wide range of useful job advice by Career Savvy.