If you are separating from the Marine Corps, you may have never had a job interview before. You may be feeling nervous or uncertain about what to expect during an interview. One of the best ways to feel more confident is to practice interviewing. You wouldn’t enter a tactical situation without the right gear and training, so why would you go into an interview unprepared?
Most interviewers use a standard set of interview questions. These questions relate to how your skills, knowledge, training, and work experience fit the job and the company. Follow these tips to put your best foot forward during your next job interview.
1. Do some recon. If you have never been to the interview location before, take the time to go to the location. You don’t want to get lost or be late on the day of the interview. If you can’t physically go to the interview location, check it out online, and allow yourself plenty of time to travel. Take all of the interview information with you. This includes the name and telephone number of your point of contact.
2. Test your technology. If your interview is virtual be sure your computer, tablet, or phone has the interview platform functioning properly. Take a test run with your audio, video, lighting, and surrounding environment’s visual appeal and sound proofing. Practice looking directly at the camera.
3. Keep your answers brief, but be certain you answer the questions thoroughly. Do not volunteer information you are not asked for, as you might talk yourself out of a job. If you do not know the answer to a question, it is okay to admit that you could learn that aspect of the position.
4. Use evidence, specific examples, data, and anecdotes to illustrate your points that are relevant to the job description. Before your interview, list the top five things you would want someone to know about your experience. Work these five things into your interview answers. When responding to a question, always give examples to illustrate your point using the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Actions speak louder than words, so use your past experiences to show you can fill the role.
5. Think about your answer before you start to speak. It is okay to pause and collect your thoughts before you give your answer. In a relaxed and natural manner, try to relate your response to the position you are applying for by using keywords from the job posting.
6. Remember, most questions have more than one purpose. As you develop your answers, think about the match between your skills and the company’s needs. Every chance you get, give a step-by-step explanation of how you would go about doing a job or performing a task, rather than just saying you can do it.
7. Prepare a few questions to ask during the interview. Interviewers often ask potential hires if they have any questions before closing the interview. Always have a few questions that you are prepared to ask that show your engagement and interest in the opportunity and the organization.
8. Practice looking people in the eye and exhibiting positive body language, on or off-camera. Most Marines are very intimidating due to training, so adjust your body posture to be more relaxed. You can schedule a free mock interview with your installation’s Transition Readiness team or Family Member Employment Assistance staff.
9. Bring an attractive pad of paper or journal and a pen to the interview.Take notes and write down important information. Have several copies of your resume ready to give to your interviewers in person, or send your resume in advance to the interviewer when you confirm the date and time of a virtual appointment.
10. Get your interview outfit ready the day before. Try it on, especially if it’s been a while since you wore it last. Make sure everything looks and fits the way it should. You’ll want to feel your best at the interview, which can be difficult to do if you’re frazzled by a wrinkled shirt that wasn’t pressed properly. Check out the interview attire suggestions for men and women from Career Spark.
If you know that the company you’re interviewing with values innovation, you’d want to emphasize the ways you contributed new ideas, growth. If they value tradition, you might emphasize other aspects of your experience.
As a Marine spouse looking for employment, start with the network you already have, continue to cultivate it, and grow your professional network. The Family Readiness Team has put together some resources to help you on your employment journey.