Monday, January 25, 2010

Teachers Offer Advice for Job Seekers

By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College PR Manager

When interviewing, job seekers have to make more than one first impression. They have to make two first impressions. Job seekers will make their first impression with a solid resume and another first impression when they get invited to a face-to-face interview.

Recently, Rio Salado College’s faculty members have been offering interviewing advice to December’s graduates, and the teachers wanted to share this advice with anyone who is looking for a job.

The teachers stressed the importance of researching the company, preparing questions for the interviewers, and practicing by rehearsing with a family member or friend.

“Your appearance is the first impression you will make on an employer when you arrive at an interview,” said Brooke Toney, an instructor in Rio Salado College's Sustainable Food Systems program. “I expect potential employees to dress professionally and have exception hygiene. In my field, I am working with food safety and personal hygiene one of the main contributors of a foodborne illness.

Rio Salado’s Faculty Chair for Instructional Design Jennifer Freed agrees with Toney and added that men should wear a tie and jacket.

"I know it gets hot in the Valley during the summer, but dressing professionally shows interviewers you are serious about the position," said Freed. "If someone doesn't put in the effort to dress professionally during an interview, an employer may question their work ethic, too."

Besides appearance, the Rio Salado teachers said a person's demeanor during the interview is important, too. Employers are looking for someone who will fit into their team, company or organization, and the way they act during an interview can be the difference between getting an offer and being rejected.

"Be positive and avoid saying anything negative about a previous employer," said Toney. "Appearing angry, wounded, or sad about being laid off makes you appear unstable. Instead, focus on the positive and address how you will be an asset."

According to Toney, this will set you apart from other candidates. She suggests talking about accomplishments from past positions and how they will fit into this new position. If you have been unemployed for some time, but are volunteering locally this is another great aspect to share in the interview. Being active in your community says a lot about you as a person and a prospective employee.

"I encourage students not to be one dimensional," said Freed. "You have to address how you are qualified for the job, but it doesn't mean you have to be a robot. You have to sell yourself, and show the interviewer that you have a personality. Just make sure it is all done with good taste."
The teachers suggest talking about what you know and not trying to stretch your true qualifications too far.

“Be honest,” said Freed. “The truth always comes out, and if you lie on your resume or in an interview it is grounds for dismissal or to not be hired in the first place.”