Congratulations on being offered a job interview! The job application process can be nerve-wracking, especially when you are looking for employment after sustaining a spinal cord injury. Making sure you have a great interview is an important first step. Making a strong first impression during this interview is key to maximizing your chances of a job offer. Below are four tips to keep in mind during your upcoming interview.
Tip #1: Be On Time and Prepared
Showing up to your job interview on time shows that you are a reliable and punctual worker. Being on time also shows that you take this position, and the interview process, seriously. To ensure you arrive at your interview on time, go over your travel plans the day before the interview and make sure you know how long it will take you to get there. To be safe, plan on arriving at least 15 minutes before the interview starts.
Being prepared for the job interview means knowing what the job entails. Re-read the job description and responsibilities before the interview to ensure you have a full understanding of the position. Keep the details of the position in mind while you answer questions about your experience and previous employment. For example, if you are interviewing for a retail position, you can discuss your past experience with interpersonal communication and problem-solving. If you have no prior experiences, discuss why you are passionate about this position and why you are a perfect fit.
Tip #2: Stay Professional
When asked questions during the interview, stay focused on your previous experiences, including professional, vocational, and educational achievements. If you have employment gaps or little experience in the job field you are applying to, focus your answers on what you hope to achieve in the workplace. After all, this job interview is for your interviewer to learn more about who you are in a professional setting. Be yourself, but keep in mind that you should avoid sharing too much personal information during the interview, as this can appear unprofessional. If asked about activities you enjoy outside of work, do not be afraid to discuss your personal interests. However, keep this answer brief, as the majority of the interview should consist of a discussion about the position and you as a worker.
Staying professional also means staying positive and cordial about past work experiences. Avoid discussing negative aspects of previous jobs you have held, even if you have a negative relationship with a past employer. Focus on the skills you learned in your previous positions or life experiences and how you can implement those skills in the job at hand. If you are asked why you left a certain position, talk about the positive aspects of why you left, such as wanting to grow as a professional and take on new responsibilities. Additionally, stay positive about employment gaps or a lack of professional experience! Rather than framing your lack of professional experience as negative, tell your interviewer that you are eager to return to the workforce again and will do everything you can to be a reliable, hard worker.
Tip #3: Ask Questions
More likely than not, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. Make sure to come to the interview prepared with a list of questions about the job, the company, or about you in the position. Do research on the company’s website and come up with questions that are not already answered within those pages. This shows your interviewer that you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in the job. Interviewers are often impressed by well-thought-out, relevant questions. An example question you can use is, “What do you enjoy most about working for this company?”
Another good question is to put yourself in a hypothetical scenario of already getting the job and asking the following question, “A year from now, what would I have had to do within that year to make you feel that I was a great employee and this was a good pick?” As the interviewer answers your question, they are visualizing you getting the job and nailing the position. This is a great psychological tool because later on, when the interviewer goes to select from a list of interviewees, you’ve already visually been locked in their mind as getting the job.
Tip #4: Do Not Be The First To Bring Up Pay
Your interviewer should be the first one to discuss salary and benefits during your interview. Do not be the first one to bring up pay. When a candidate does this, the candidate often appears as only interested in the benefits of the position rather than the job itself. Wait until your interviewer discusses salary and benefits for the position first before you talk about it during your interview.
When your interview mentions salary and pay, they may ask you the range of salary you are looking for along with the previous salaries you have had in the past. Come to the interview prepared with a range of salary that you deem appropriate for the job at hand. Research the median salary for employees in similar jobs to determine a reasonable amount.
It’s Time To Ace Your Interview!
Many people with spinal cord injuries worry about finding and maintaining employment when they are ready to work. However, being offered an interview is a great sign that you are doing well in your search for a job. Remember to arrive on time and prepared, stay professional, ask questions, and wait for your interviewer to bring up salary and benefits. You have the power to ace this interview!
If you have questions or need assistance in finding employment after a spinal cord injury, contact us today.
Once you have secured your employment, get a FREE benefits counselor to help navigate the disability working world and learn about your options for maintaining Medicaid and Medicare health care insurance and caregiving. To learn more, visit willingtoworkusa.com.