Northeast Ohio directors, managers recommend tips for successful interviews

Angela Radesic

Think back to your first professional interview. It probably consisted of a series of small mistakes and stumbling over words, all scenarios that could have been easily avoided.  

While there are plenty of mistakes that can’t be prevented in an interview, a few small reminders and tips can help better prepare someone for their next one-on-one interview.

No matter what the experience level requirement is for a position, hiring managers know to expect nervousness — it’s human nature. While being nervous is something many cannot control, there are possible steps to take to avoid looking unprofessional in an interview.

“(Students) should have an idea of what they are going to accomplish with the company that they are interviewing with,” said Dennis Cawthorn, the business unit director of Glass Americas at Fosbel Ceramic Technologies, a welding company in Cleveland. “Look into the company’s website and try to understand something about the company so that they know that you came prepared.”

Doing research on the company, whether it’s a part-time customer service job or a post-graduation career opportunity, is always important. Showing knowledge of the business shows initiative.

If an employer knows that time was spent to better prepare for a job, they may be more inclined to choose someone who shows ambition for the position instead of someone who simply shows up and displays their skills.

Students should also arrive at an interview on time and well-dressed to demonstrate interest in the opportunity.

“They should probably do some research into the company’s dress policies (before the interview) or ask the person they scheduled the interview with what the dress code is,” Cawthorn said.

Lisa Gonzalez, front end and hiring manager at Heinen’s Fine Foods, said to “wear something you would wear to church.”

“(Students) don’t necessarily have to wear a suit and tie, but something professional and clean-pressed,” Gonzalez said.

Dressing professionally will help better create a personal brand when interacting with other professionals. By dressing and acting the part, employers will sense this confidence and see those people in a higher regard.

Both Cawthorn and Gonzalez said preparing a resume is also a necessity when going to an interview.

“They should bring their professional resume with their experience and education and training,” Cawthorn said. “Be open, be honest. Think about what type of position they are looking for, be prepared to ask questions (about that position).”

Gonzalez said students should consider the value of extracurricular activities when creating a resume.

“Any relevant past experience on a resume is great,” she said. “Even if it is something as simple as babysitting, it shows that they have experience with people.”

A solid resume consists of past experience, education and notable skills relevant to the desired position.

A common mistake made with experience on resumes is fitting in all past work experience. While an abundance of work experience may demonstrate strong work ethic, these experts suggest keeping it limited to relevant experience.  

While these tips may not guarantee landing a dream job, the benefits can pay off in the long term.

Angela Radesic is the finance and jobs reporter. Contact her at [email protected]