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How to Succeed in an Interview for an Entry-Level Position

May 3, 2016

I recently interviewed a candidate for an entry-level technical position in my department. The candidate had little relevant experience and had majored in English, which was not a major we desired for the job. However, this candidate successfully passed the phone screen and did a great job in the on-site interview.  How did she win my vote?  She followed several strategies that you can use to succeed in your entry-level interview.

 

Well-Polished And Easy-To-Read Resume

 

A lot people’s resumes are cluttered with too much information. If I don’t see the key words I am looking for in the first 10 seconds, I put it at the bottom of the pile and tell myself to give it another look after I finish the whole pile.  This candidate did an excellent job marketing herself. She had a well-polished resume which was formatted so that all her relevant projects stood out immediately.  I did not need to dig through her resume to determine whether she was a desirable candidate.  I kept her resume in the “to-be-interviewed” pile.

 

Do Your Homework

 

No one expects entry-level candidates to have a lot of experience.  We are looking for attitude, passion and potential. When I asked this candidate why she was interested in our company, her response made it clear she had done her homework. From our corporate mission to our business operation, she was thoroughly familiar with the company, and she articulated a strong connection between her personal goals and the organization’s growth.

 

Make The Irrelevant Relevant

 

Although at first glance this candidate didn’t have directly applicable experience, she was able to show that her previous teaching experience was relevant for training potential, her previous work as a receptionist represented customer service experience, and her previous work number crunching proved she had analytical ability and attention to detail.

 

The candidate followed a very savvy strategy to market herself, and she clearly spent a lot of time thinking about it before the interview.  The effort certainly paid off.

 

I hope you can learn something from this experience as you pursue that entry-level position.

 

Happy job hunting!

 

 

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