Whether you're fresh out of college or a veteran in the workforce, finding a job is never easy. An interview is your chance at a great first impression. Developing these interviewing skills and then applying them to other aspects of your life and career will show employers that you are professional and committed.


1. Arrive early

Tardiness tells the employer that this interview is not your top priority. Any lack of commitment this early in the hiring process will be a red flag for them. Try to arrive 10-15 minutes early to show you're serious about the position.


2. Dress appropriately

You must show professionalism not only in what you say, but what you wear. Certain clothes carry with them social cues that speak volumes before you ever open your mouth. Dress for success. Khakis, a button down, and a tie will do for men, but a suit is even better. For women, slacks and a suit jacket are appropriate.


3. Prepare an 'elevator speech'

One of the first questions any employer will ask you is "Tell me about yourself." Be prepared with a 30-second summary of who you are. This speech can address: who you are/where you're from, education, major, previous work experience, and any organizations you actively participate in. The point is to "brand" yourself. What separates you from the person across the room?


4. Ask questions

Asking questions lets employers know that you are interested in the company. Think about questions you have about the company before the interview, but also don't be afraid to ask about topics that were mentioned during the interview. This is also a great way to figure out if this company is the right fit for you.


5. Prepare answers

Be ready to answer questions such as: "Give us an example of a challenge you faced and how you overcame it." "What are your strengths/weaknesses?" "Why do you want to work for us?" Every answer should portray you in a positive light. Try to turn your negatives into positives.


6. Do advance research

Researching a company will help you structure your answers and your questions to what employers are looking for. Knowing their mission statement, body of work, and history will show you have a strong interest in the company. If a company stresses certain values, try to incorporate them into your answers


Today's competitive job market requires potential employees to be prepared. The skills listed above reach far beyond interviews and will better prepare you for the professional world.


Katie Roth is the owner of Portico Staffing, of West Des Moines. Portico matches top talent with companies in Central Iowa and works with applicants and companies in the temporary, temporary to hire, and direct hire markets.


Contact her at LinkedInporticostaffing.com, or 515-221-3233.