I had to deal with job hunting for quite some time and even prepared for getting help from my virtual assistants. Here are the main lessons I learned when preparing for a job interview.
The mundane: prepare your clothes
Learn how to tie a tie!
This is a key skill. It’s fine if your mom knows how to do it better than you – at the beginning.
(To be honest, my mom still makes better tie knots than me. But I know I can tie a decent tie if it comes to it!)
Think about it: what if your tie comes undone right before the interview?
You would be screwed if you didn’t at least know the basics of it!
If you want to learn how to tie a tie step by step, then you’ll love this video series!
Have your suit cleaned and ironed in time!
There is nothing more useless and unnerving than trying to figure out what to wear a few hours before your big interview!
Make this decision the day before and stick with your choice. This will relax you a bit.
I won’t have to say that taking a shower and shaving are definitive to-do’s before an interview, right?
Prepare for hard job interview questions
Do your research!
- You can use tools like Glassdoor to research possible interview questions.
- Here is a great collection of 100 potential interview questions
- Do mock interviews with a friend or a spouse – or even record yourself talking as if you would discuss with someone from HR. Chances are, you could speak more slowly and clearly.
How can a Virtual Assistant help here?
You would have to be very creative if you wanted to find a way how your VA could help you preparing for a job interview. In principle, you are on your own as soon as you sit in that chair in front of the commission.
Still, just as it is possible to get coaching/reminders in Chemistry, as I did, you can simply hire someone to do mock interviews as often as possible with a few random interview questions until you are calm, prepared and ready for whatever they will throw at you.
The best things you can do, next to real job interviews, are
- training job interviews and
- imagining doing job interviews
Sure, this is not very usual. But if you consider outsourcing as a lifestyle, then you are not very usual either.
Not that there is something bad about being creatively unique 🙂
You just had a job interview, and now you are dead tired. Now, don’t fall into bed yet! The job interview follow up is almost as important as the interview itself!
You are still making a first impression. Make it impressive!
Sending a job interview thank you note
The content of this follow up can be very simple. It’s just important that you do it, not so much which form it takes. Do what comes naturally.
A short email saying:
Dear Mr. [Name of the HR employee – you did get his business card, did you?]
Thanks for the interesting and open conversation we had today. I appreciated you clarifying my questions about [you did ask questions, right?].
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Don’t take this example literally, craft your own letter!
Follow up after the job interview to show you care
Why the trouble?
The company knows you are looking for even more job opportunities elsewhere.
(For example, using these job search websites)
You want to make them feel like they have made a great impression on you, the applicant. Yes, the first impressions go both ways.
Email, Call or Letter?
What format you use for your job interview follow up notice depends on how the interview process went in the past. But an easy rule of thumb is:
- If you used email for most of your communication, write a thank you email. Include everyone involved in the communication, but adress the email to the main HR contact.
- If you got invited using snail mail, than writing a real letter might distinguish you from normal applicants. Think about the time it takes for snail mail to be delivered, though. Perhaps it’s better to call personally…
- A phone call: if you got to know someone personally in the job interview, it’s very likely that they handed you their business card. Use it, you have their permission to contact them. When you do call, be polite (of course) but also use the opportunity to give them feedback about the interview process. You can also throw in some questions.
Finding the right balance – don’t sound too eager
Job interviews are a battle of wills. You cannot sell yourself easily, either. Else, your perceived value drops.
This lesson applies to dating as well as to job interviews.
When you do your job interview follow up, don’t sound too happy or even relieved. You don’t want to communicate that the job opportunity that this enterprise gives you is your last chance.
Else, you will have a hard time when it comes to negotiating your pay rate.
I Need a Job! And I’m willing to get really creative to get one!
Let me share with you how I used Outsourcing to get a list of a few hundred useful contacts.
Think about how, after calling them up and sending a non-generic job application, I drastically increase my chances of finding my dream job.
And because I wanted to stay near my loved ones, I needed my dream job in a city where getting a job is notoriously difficult:
How I started: useless use of job search websites
To be honest, my first job search efforts were more than sub-optimal. You should only use the lessons I have learned from my mistakes…
- Check out my best advice on using free job search websites here!
What did I do wrong? I sent out many generic application letters. I did not call before sending them. There was no personal contact. I was poorly organized.
All that made me realize: big trouble ahead! If you read a bit around my site, you can imagine what I thought of next…
The experiment: My outsourced job hunt
This was not a project where I outsourced my whole job application to specific services that spam hundreds of poor HR employees!
The aim of this project was to get a researched list of possible employers that I could call up, one after the other, without worrying about needing to research more places.
Were pretty good, in my opinion!
- Over 200 places researched in my town of preference
- All places are reachable by public transport.
- Money spent: 40$
Learn the same skills to outsource your job hunt!
More Related Job Hunt Articles
TOP TIP FOR THE JOB HUNT
If I could go back in time to the day when I said:
“I need a job, and I better start sending out dozens of application letters!”
I would give myself a good whack and say:
“The number one way to get a job is to establish personal contacts!”
This is the number one tip to take away. Click here to read more Tips on Job Hunting.
I NEED A JOB, BADLY. SHOULD I LIE?
Never lie when it comes about working out your professional future.
The lies will come haunt you in the end. And in the age of everyone becoming more and more transparent due to the internet, this is true more than ever.
Although you need to develop some skills in framing certain situations and presenting you in the best light possible, you should never be lying on job applications!
Do Your Research About Your Potential Employer
There is a very useful site out there that shares anonymized reviews from enterprises you might want to work in regarding
- Salary levels
- Work conditions
- The interview process
Check out Glassdoor and it’s power as a job search engine as well as a enterprise review site!
Got A Job Interview – How To Prepare
Finally got that Job interview? Congrats! I know how hard it can be just getting there.
Now you have your big chance. Don’t blow it!
Don’t worry, if you think of my tips about preparing for a job interview, then you will have a better chance at finally getting this job!
After The Interview – Be Sure To Follow Up!
Making a good last impression is as important than the first impression. By writing a job interview follow up letter, you will set yourself apart from your competition!
It’s time to nail that job!
Job Search For Chemists And Biochemists
Als a chemist, providing certified knowledge about GLP (good laboratory practice) is crucial if you want to land a job in the area of pharma.
Here’s a short article about my biotech job search.
Found a job opportunity? No matter if you found it yourself or if you outsourced the job search, be sure to double check your future employer on the Glassdoor website!
- Check Employee's feedback
- Get an unbiased inside look
- Check if you are in for a horror trip or a dream job
What you need to do to get unlimited access
When you start using the site, you’ll soon find out that you need to make a free account to get all the information. Go ahead and do this, it’s worth the five seconds.
Sign up with…
- your email
- or Facebook
Then, you will have access to all the insider info about the companies for 30 days. To extend that to unlimited access, you need to provide your own review.
(Exception: if you are a student, you can sign up with your student email and get 12 month access to everything!)
Personally, I chose to share the experience I made in one of my job interviews. This took me less than 5 minutes.
Use Glassdoor for your Job Search
You can use this service for research of job openings – or let your virtual assistant take care of that. This is actually a great example of time consuming, tedious daily research that could be well outsourced.
Wouldn’t getting a pre-screened, cleaned up daily report including background research from the companies offering relevant job openings be useful…?
Ways this service can help you with your job hunt:
Regular notifications about job openings
Chances for Networking and referrals through friends if you use this site via Facebook. (Similar to LinkedIn and Xing!) Use the power of your “inside connections” to get you in touch with the people that actually have the power to provide you with your dream job!
Exchange honest and anonymous insider info
Since the info you submit is anonymous, you don’t have to be afraid about your employer finding out about bad feedback and firing you, for example.
In the same way, the provided reviews reflect the honest opinions of the users.
Of course, you need to interpret the reviews carefully. If you find mainly great reviews about a global company, but a few bad ones in between, this does not mean that the company is “evil” as a whole.
Also, people from different career levels and even different countries are posting. This is especially important for big, global enterprises.
That’s why you should use these reviews as a way to orient yourself.
Take them with a grain of salt.
Compare salary levels between the companies
Salary is important.
Nevertheless, many people don’t like to talk honestly about their salary.
The good news:
Glassdoor also allows you to research salary levels from the different companies.
Be sure to compare thoroughly before you start negotiating your salary.
It’s always wise to know what you can ask for.
Feel free to do a test search for your last salary in the widget on the right!
In China, this is different, or so I heard on a seminar about intercultural communication.
Apparently, it’s very common there to ask about family, income and other personal details very early in the conversation.
Learn about challenges in the job interview process
Are you preparing yourself for a job interview?
Great! Use the information about the interview process of the company you are invited to to prepare yourself as good as possible.
Useful Information so far? Then click the “Like” Button! 🙂
What part can you outsource to your Virtual Assistant?
This site is about smartly outsourcing tedious work to a Virtual Assistant, so that you can focus on what is important to you. Here’s what you can safely outsource without risking anything or getting into trouble:
- Setting up an account and getting you unlimited access (your VA can share his work experience if he has had a “real job” before)
- The job research and hunt for open positions (don’t outsource writing applications!)
- Researching salary levels
- Pre-Screening job offers by quality levels of the enterprise – or informing you ahead of time and warning you from “bad bosses” ahead of time
Ready to learn how to get a VA?
Although my expertise is chemistry, I completed my PhD in a chair of biotechnology. Working in a biotech lab was natural to me.
So, I assumed it would not be a problem to find a good position in my biotech job search.
I was wrong.
Working in a Biotech Lab is not enough…
As part of my job search for positions in the area of pharma, I contacted the HR employee by phone before even sending my applications. This is one lesson I have learned the hard way, after many applications that I simply wrote and sent were rejected.
My experience with biochemical working methods worked in my favor. However, there was one key skill that all HR people wanted to hear from me before considering me for the positions…
YOU MUST HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF GLP
I asked my pharmacist about GLP Knowledge…
Apparently, without a formal knowledge of GLP and GMP (good manufacturing practices), you are frowned upon as a unprecise, splashing around alchemist…!
Funny side note:
It applies the other way round, too. When I talked with people in the area of automotives and told them I was a chemist, their first association was one of a chemist holding a green Erlenmeyer flask with an explosive potion…
Even if I know my fair share about material sciences…
Free GLP course to help you with your biotech job search
For a good job application, it’s best for you to add as many pieces of evidence for your skills as possible. Even if you only have a free certification of a skill, that’s better than nothing.
And, no, lying in your application is not a good idea.
Here is a GLP training course I found online that teaches you the basics for free. It can’t hurt in your portfolio.