By Debbie Gregory.
Each branch of the military utilizes various types of inspections, where NCO’s scrutinize each servicemember’s uniform, bearing and knowledge. The truth of the matter is that a job interview is nothing more than an inspection. Employers want to see their potential hires, face to face, and inspect their professional appearance, their bearing and their knowledge before hiring them. Veterans are used to inspections, and if they translate their experience in preparing for inspections to preparing for job interviews, then Veterans will find interviews to be a piece of cake.
Before their interview, Veterans should use any materials at their disposal to learn about their potential employer, including what they do and who they serve. Veterans should also be familiar with the job, its requirements and responsibilities. Veteran jobseekers should know the company’s mission statement and goals. They should also be prepared to answer questions about themselves. Veterans need to prepare for interviews, just like they did for inspections. Before any military inspection, hours were spent preparing and training. Getting a job should be no different. Have your spouse, a parent, or a friend prepare you by conducting mock interviews. You can even ask your local VA or employment center rep to conduct one for you. To see the jobs currently available on MilitaryConnection.com, visit our Job Board, the Virtual Job Fair, or the Live Job Fairs.
Before their military inspections, personnel scoured their uniform and appearance in order to create the best impression. Beginning in boot camp, each Veteran learned that the more squared-away their appearance was, the easier time they would have with the inspection. The same is true for job interviews. Get a haircut, polish your shoes, iron your clothes. Be sure to bring copies of your records should you need them, and your resume. Invest a few dollars to buy a professional looking folder, if not a briefcase to carry your papers in. And always bring a pen. For resume tips, click here.
Interviews should be conducted with the same confidence and attentiveness that inspections were. When asked a question, Veterans should answer clearly and promptly. Just like with an inspection, hesitation and lack of confidence may cause further questioning, or worse, an end to the interview.
But unlike during a military inspection, job interviews should display a Veteran’s personality. Employers don’t want robots working for them. Smile, be polite, and look your interviewer in the eye. But refrain from using sir, or madam. Use the person’s last name along with Mr., Ms., or Mrs. If your interviewer wants you to call them by their first name, they will tell you so. Also, ask questions. Informed questions make you seem interested and involved. To get an idea of the salary range for the job you are interviewing form, check the MilitaryConnection.com Salary Calculator.
Employers want to hire individuals who are hard-working and who will represent and support them in front of their company, customers and colleagues. They want employees who are enthusiastic about coming to work. Make sure that employers see you as someone they would want to spend time working with.
Conclude all interviews with a handshake and by thanking your interviewer. Follow up your interview with a thank you in writing.
Veterans have made a career out of generating a professional appearance, successfully passing inspections and creating first impressions for themselves with new bosses. Job interviews should be easy for Veterans. Just like transferring other job-related skills, don’t forget to use your military experience to your advantage.