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The Hiring Process Explained: Tips to Get Through It Like a Pro

The Hiring Process Explained: Tips to Get Through It Like a Pro

Looking for your first job can be exciting. It’s  a huge step toward Independence.  The right first job could be what unlocks the keys to your first apartment, car or pay college tuition. The work experience could make it easier to land a professional  job in the future.  And, let’s not forget, making your own money is pretty sweet too.

But if we're honest, looking for your first job can also be scary as heck. I mean, if you've never done it before, you literally have no idea what to expect. So that's what we're going to do here. We’re going to demystify the hiring process for you. Knowing what to expect and what could be coming next, will boost your confidence. After reading this, you’ll know the typical steps in the hiring process. Knowing what’s coming will help you prepare and get to work faster.

The Application

The first part of any hiring process is the application. A business looking for employees will share their openings on job boards like Jacksonville Works or their own website. You may even find jobs on their social media pages. However a business chooses to promote their jobs, all employers will have some process for you to apply for the job. 

Applying for a job lets the business know that you’re interested in the job they shared and want to work for their company. Applications are usually taken by either some type of online form or instructions on how to send in your resume by email or mail. However the business chooses to take applications, these tips will help you manage the process like a pro.

Pro Tips

  • Read and follow all directions carefully.
  • Use a professional email address for your contact information.
  • Provide all information requested on the application form or in the application instructions.
  • Tell the truth. Make sure everything you share is accurate.

Phone Interview

Next up is usually a phone interview. A phone interview is a brief conversation with you and the hiring manager or human resources. Some companies do phone interviews as a way to feel out if you’re a good fit for the job before they continue with an in-person interview. So generally they'll ask a few questions to get to know you. They’ll want to get a sense of if the information on your application is true. You'll have an opportunity to ask them a few questions too about the job and company as well.

Pro Tips:

  • Choose a quiet place where you won’t be distracted for the phone interview.
  • Use a landline if possible. If not, then plug your phone into the charger and pick a place where you get good cell phone reception.
  • Practice your answers to common interview questions, so you’re ready for what you may be asked.
  • Have two or three thoughtful questions handy to ask the person who interviews you.

In Person Interview

An in-person interview is a more formal face-to-face meeting between you and the employer. It is most common that you will come into the business and meet with a manager, human resources or both. Less often, the interview can be done virtually using something like Skype or Zoom. 

During the interview, the person you're meeting with will ask you questions. A lot of questions. The  purpose of those questions is to help them figure out if you're the employee they have been praying for. That means they're going to ask questions that get to the heart of:

  • Your motivation to work
  • The likelihood that you’ll be reliable.
  • If you are teachable.
  • Your fit for the job. (If you can and want to do the job.)
  • How long you’ll stay with the company if hired.

Basically he or she wants to have a good understanding about your ability and desire to do the job. In addition to skills and willingness to do the work, your interviewer will evaluate if you have the temperament for the job and work environment. 

You'll also be able to ask some questions during the interview. This usually happens towards the end of the interview. The interviewer may ask, if you have any questions for them. You’ll make a good impression by having two or three thoughtful questions prepared to ask.

Expect for the interview to last about 30 minutes or longer. The interview may have just one hiring manager or you may have what's called a panel interview. A panel interview is a type of interview where a team of managers conduct the meeting. Sometime panel interviews will include employees who work in the position being hired. The members of the panel may either all ask questions or one person may ask questions and the others observe. 

Pro Tips:

  • Dress professionally and be well groomed.
  • Prepare 2-3 thoughtful questions to ask during the interview.
  • Show up on time.
  • Plan answers to common interview questions in advance of your interview.
  • Follow up with a letter or email after your interview.

Second Interview

After the first face to face interview, there may be additional interviews. Whether or not there will be additional interviews  depends on the company and the type of job.  Sometimes there are multiple interviews for management or very technical jobs. However, it never hurts to be prepared for a situation where multiple interviews may be required. A second interview may be with the same person you met with during the first interview or someone different. The second interview could also be a panel interview, a different person on the management team or  a higher level manager. 

Pro Tips:

  • Ask who will facilitate and participate in the second interview.

Checks and Testing

The next part of the evaluation process involves checks and testing. This may include:

  • Criminal background checks
  • Employment reference checks
  • Skill testing
  • Drug test

During this process the employer will begin to complete various checks to further evaluate your fit for the job. You’ll be notified of any steps that you need to complete. Make sure to complete any tasks promptly so that no delays are caused. You may need to sign forms giving them permission to do a criminal background check or to reach out to reference you provided. You may also need to visit a clinic to have a drug test done. 

Some employers may begin this process after making an offer for employment. So if you’re offered a job first, be aware these types of checks can still be done. 

Pro Tips:

  • Notify all of your references that they may be contacted by a potential employer.
  • Sign any release documents quickly.
  • Schedule appointments for drug tests and skill testing promptly.

Job Offer

So, after references are checked and the background check is successfully passed, you may receive a job offer. A job offer is when an employer decides that they want to hire you and present what pay and benefits they are willing to provide to get you to work for them.  Someone from the organization such as the hiring manager or human resources will contact you and formally offer you the position. That's when they'll go over how much that they're offering to pay, benefits, schedule and any other details. 

You should be given an official offer letter that summarizes everything included in their employment offer. An offer letter should have the title of the position that you've been offered, start date, the rate of pay and any contingencies that you have to meet before the job is officially yours. 

There you have it. These are all the typical steps that go into getting hired and going through an employer’s hiring process. So now that you know what to expect you should feel more comfortable, starting the process of finding your first job.