This is a post I have been wanting to write for a while! I was working on some schoolwork on Saturday at the local Starbucks and noticed Five Below was conducting interviews there as well! I noticed some really pivotal problems that stood out when people came in for their interviews and that is what inspired me to give my tips!
Now I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I have had around 5-6 part-time jobs since I was 16 years old AND was able to get an internship working for Ascena Retail this past summer. (Update: since I first wrote this, I have now gotten a professional internship with Disney and a full-time job!)
That all being said, I do think I am pretty good at this whole interview thing! Here are my top tips on how to ace your interview and get the job you’re applying for!
How To Ace Your Interview And Get The Job
1. Bring your resume (IN A FOLDER)
This is one thing I noticed right away. Of all the people who actually brought their resume (very few I might add), no one had their resume in a folder! This is a huge red flag to me because bringing in a crumpled/wrinkled resume is not a good representation of who you are. It’s obviously best to bring it in any form possible; however, just adding it into a folder give you an extra polished/professional look.
Make sure to create a really nice, clean layout for your resume that highlights your past job experience(s) (pertinent to the position you’re applying for). If you don’t have any/much experience, make sure to add previous volunteer experiences as well as any skills you have. I LOVE Canva’s range of resumes for more creative fields (linked here) but for a regular part-time job, I suggest just a plain black and white option you can find on Microsoft Word.
If you’re wanting any additional resume help, I have a post for that! This post is How to Write a Killer Resume (read it here) and gives all the tips I used to create my own. The example I share in this post is the resume template I used to get a professional internship with Walt Disney World (read more about how to apply here). It also helped me score my first full-time job!
2. Know your availability
Another good reason to bring you resume (if you’re in school) is often they will ask your availability. KNOW WHAT IT IS! I cannot stress this enough. Almost every person that came in to interview sat there for a minute or two saying “ummmm….welllll….on Monday’s I’m done at four…..and Thursday’s….“. Don’t do this! Either have it written on the back of your resume so when they ask you can show them OR know it by heart and then ask them if they want you to write it down.
The people interviewing you have so many applicants that they won’t remember your availability the next day or even the next hour. Make their life easier and they will appreciate you so much more! Already knowing your availability will make you seem so much more prepared too. This is extremely important because jobs want to know that you’re a prepared/organized person.
3. Dress for the job you want
I already said that I can’t stress this enough when knowing your availability but y’all….dress for the job you want and not the one you have (that being said, if you have no job at least try to look presentable). This means not wearing leggings, a revealing shirt, sneakers, etc. I kid you not someone walked into that interview in a ruched front shirt (with her stomach out) and LEGGINGS. I could’ve died.
This is not to shame people who might not be able to afford work wear either. I have a post on Where to Shop for Affordable Work Wear that you can read (here). If you really can’t afford a business casual look, you can always check out your local Salvation Army or Goodwill! I have found gorgeous blazers at Goodwill in perfect condition. With one wash it’ll be good as new!
Even if it’s a part-time interview you should look presentable. It’s so easy to throw on a dress and ballet flats and you’ll immediately look more presentable! I prefer to wear pants and a fun pair of shoes because it’s a conversation starter. I swear by this tip (even if it’s an interview with McDonald’s). It shows you care enough to try and it will make a difference!
4. Research the company you’re applying to
Researching the company you’re applying to is a great tip because, again, it shows you’re really interested in the company! I worked for LOFT which is under Ascena Retail/Ann Inc.; however, I wanted to find out a little bit more about the company in case they asked during the interview!
You want to be as prepared as you can be. The easiest way to find out anything related to a company you want to work for is by heading to their website! Most (if not all) companies have an “About” section at the bottom of their web-page and a lot of them have a mission statement in that area as well.
Make sure you find out things such as: their top competitors, how viable they are in the market, the other positions they have above yours in the company (this is good because if they ask your long term goals you can say how you want to stay with the company to become *insert position here*). I have had all of these questions come up in an interview and it’s great to be prepared!
5. Once you apply online, call the store
This is my (nearly) foolproof way of at LEAST getting an interview if not getting the job you really want. The first tip is that you should always apply online first and THEN call the company to see if they’re hiring/to introduce yourself. This shows that 1) you took the time to apply and 2) that you’re so interested you want to make a connection with the manager.
They’ll likely remember your name and that you went out of your way. Almost every time I have done this for a part-time job I have gotten an interview! The second tip is that you should always go to the actual company website rather than look on monster.com/indeed.com. These are really helpful tools to use; however, often times private companies do not promote job openings through third parties.
Disney is an example of one of that! They only post Disney job openings on their actual career site and most of the positions open on other sites are years old or no longer exist. The most accurate place to find open positions at a specific company is on their corporate website. This tactic is what I used when applying to my previous part-time job at LOFT AND when I applied to my corporate intern position with them too.
6. Ask Questions
I never understood this until recently but 1) it’s actually really helpful to you and 2) it lets the company know you’re actually interested in working for them. This is a very helpful tip so pay attention to this one y’all! Ask at least three questions to the person/people interviewing you. Sometimes I only ask two depending on how long the interview has already been, but that is my golden rule of interviewing!
Some good questions to ask if you’re feeling stuck:
- “Are there any opportunities for growth?”
- “What are some day to day duties for this position?”
- “Are there any additional duties that would be required of me in this position?”
- “How did you get your start at *insert company here*?”
- “Are there any good computer programs I can research that will help me prepare for this position?”
7. Follow Up
This last tip is SO IMPORTANT. It’s honestly probably the most important tip on this list! Make sure to follow up with the person, or people, that you interviewed with. It might seem pointless and dramatic; however, if no one else follows up, you are literally the only candidate who has shown you care!
When should you follow up after and interview? I usually say that if it’s a morning interview to follow up that afternoon. If it’s an afternoon interview, I usually follow up the next day! Even if you don’t have their direct contact, if you have their name, you can EASILY follow up by using the email format of whoever you’ve been in contact with. Just change the name to who you interviewed with specifically!
Phone Interview Tips
I decided I wanted to give additional tips for phone and Skype/Facetime interviews too since they’re vastly different. When I was interviewing for my Disney Professional Internship, I had a total of three phone interviews! Almost every company does a preliminary phone interview for corporate positions nowadays. If you want Disney phone interview tips, click the link below!
Before you even begin your phone interview, be sure to decide what to wear. Yes I said this!!! Feel good, do good is something my AP Psych teacher used to say. If you dress the part even if you aren’t face to face with the person you’ll automatically feel more confident. Even if you just throw on a pair of jeans and a blazer, I promise your confidence will shine through.
I also suggest having your resume in front of you on a desk or table. That being said, DO NOT READ OFF OF YOUR RESUME. Prepare enough that you know the three most important job duties of your previous role and be able to talk to them. If you need additional help, write three small bullets to the side of each section! That way you can form them into sentences, but they don’t sound rehearsed.
No matter what position or company you’re applying for, phone interviews generally go the same way. The recruiter usually asks how your day has been and then they usually explain the position you’re in the running for. Remember: THEY CAN’T SEE YOU. You’d think this would be easy to remember, but in the moment you can forget. If you nod your head, make sure to say “yes” or “mm-hmm” at the same time.
At the end of the phone interview, be sure to ALWAYS have questions to ask if the recruiter inquires. You can see which questions I suggest asking above, but they’re the same as you would ask in an in person interview. I also suggest following up after the phone interview in the same way that you would an in person interview! It’s a good way to show you appreciate their time and want to work with them in the future.
Skype of Facetime Interview Tips
I have also done my fair share of Skype interviews! I had two separate Skype interviews for my internship with Lou & Grey. The first was a complete hot mess, but I still made it work! Ideally you’re supposed to have a quiet room in your home or apartment and/or a study room on campus. However, I found out the day I arrived at my Airbnb in Charleston (I was volunteering at Fashion Week) that I had my first Skype interview that week!
Luckily I think quickly on my feet and that, since I’m a blogger, I had a ton of clothes in my car from a photoshoot I’d done that week. I also got lucky that my Airbnb was in a quiet part of town. I was able to use a plain wall, two TV dinner trays, a table lamp, and my suitcase to create a perfect little office.
Before you have your Skype/Facetime interview, be sure to have someone test that it works on your computer. If push comes to shove, prop your phone up against something chest level and do your interview that way! Make sure that you look professional (i.e. hair presentable, wearing a blazer, not wearing anything too low cut, etc.) and sound professional too!
You want to make sure you have/do the following:
- Good lighting
- A solid background
- A room free of noise (i.e. leave a note on your front door if you have a roommate)
- Are wearing a business casual outfit
- Are making eye contact with the CAMERA and not the screen
These are my best tips that will really set you apart when you have a Skype/Facetime interview! As with an in person interview and a phone interview, you want to always ask questions to whomever you interviewed with. After the time frame I mentioned above, be sure to follow up with them as well!
I hope these tips help you guys kill your interviews and get the jobs you want! These have been proven successful (by me at least) and I think they’ll really help you as well. If you have success with these, I would LOVE to hear your feedback! Be sure to leave a comment below!
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