April 12, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Barry Lewis, executive director of the Times Herald-Record newspaper, recently discussed job interview tips with some forward-thinking Mount Saint Mary College students.
Barry Lewis, executive director of the Times Herald-Record newspaper, recently revealed his top job interview tips to the students of Mount Saint Mary College.
In his presentation “Story Tell Your Way into a Job Offer,” Lewis drew on decades of hiring experience in the newspaper industry to help the Mount scholars navigate the application and interview process.
Here’s a few of his best tips.
What you should do:
- Do your homework. “Know something about the person who is interviewing you and the company,” said Lewis. “Be prepared to ask questions.”
- Dress the part. Lewis recalled a candidate years ago who hadn’t worn socks to an interview. “To this day, I can’t tell you what he was saying,” Lewis noted. “I really didn’t listen to the guy. He could have been the greatest writer, but I couldn’t get past his ankles.”
- Be yourself. “I always try to be myself. I lead, at times, with humor,” Lewis explained. “Whether it works or it doesn’t work, that’s who I am. And it comes across, hopefully, as genuine. The interviewer gets that and wants to see the real you. Be genuine; be truthful.”
- Follow up. Emailing an employer from time to time to check on the status of your application or your interview keeps you on the employer’s radar and shows you’re serious. “You don’t want to be annoying…[but] an email here or there is good,” he explained.
What you shouldn’t do:
- Put an “Objective” section on your résumé. “I already know what your objective is – you want a job,” said Lewis. “Save the space on your résumé. Use it for something that can really set you apart.”
- Show up too early. It’s obvious that you shouldn’t be late to a job interview, said Lewis. But there’s a flipside to this rule: “Don’t ever show up a half hour early, either,” he explained. “Sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes. Go over what you want to talk about. Listen to music and relax. And come in when there’s 5 or 10 minutes before the interview.” Showing up too early can put pressure on the interviewer to drop what they’re doing, he noted.
- Forget to say thank you. It’s easy to send a thank you note to an employer and it shows you’re still interested after an interview. Sometimes a thank you note makes the difference between getting a job offer or a rejection letter.
One final tip: If you go for an interview but aren’t offered the job, you should still be proud, said Lewis.
“If you reached the interview stage at this time, in this employment market, that’s good,” he explained. “There’s something about you that they like. You’ve already beaten out God knows how many people, just to get into that office.”
Use the experience to become a stronger candidate, he said.