Acing the Job Interview Takes More Than Just Being Qualified
A few years ago, my local Chamber of Commerce commissioned a Workforce Needs Study of area companies. In one of the questions, respondents were asked what factors were important to them in hiring. I found the responses fascinating. Employers ranked â€œattitude and demeanorâ€ and â€œcommunication skillsâ€ higher than â€œprevious work experience.â€ And they ranked â€œappearance/dress/groomingâ€ higher than â€œdemonstrated skills for the job.â€
So even though a prospect may have the experience and skills for the job, she may be derailed by an apathetic attitude, poor communication ability, or inappropriate attire or appearance. So here are twelve tips for acing a job interview:
1. Be prepared. Know something about the organization and the position youâ€™re interviewing for.
2. Double-check your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Are they professionally done? Do they reflect positively on you? Employers are going there first these days, so make sure your online impression is a positive one.
3. Dress appropriately. Be clean and neat and have your hair well groomed. Choose your attire carefully. If this is for a professional position, wear a good suit, even if the business has a casual attire policy. If the position is for a more technical or service nature, a suit might be overkill. But still choose a neat, attractive outfit. No jeans, sweatpants, sneakers, tight-fitting or revealing garments.
4. Good interviewers will let you do a lot of the talking, so elaborate enough to give some insight into yourself. Itâ€™s a good opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills. On the other hand, donâ€™t dominate the interview and talk incessantly about yourself. Part of good communication is the ability to listen, so be a good listener as the interviewer talks to you.
5. Show interest – ask questions about the organizationâ€™s philosophy, length of time in business, their product, service or customers, number of employees, etc.
6. Ask intelligent questions about the job – hours, responsibilities, what skills are important, what challenges the job has.
7. Be prepared to answer open-ended questions:
â€œTell me about yourself.â€ – Include not only your job history and educational background, but any personal tidbits that may be of interest or reveal some positive aspect of your personality. â€œWhy do you want to work here?â€ – Your interest in the job and the position is crucial. No employer wants to hire someone, no matter how qualified, if he appears bored or lukewarm about the prospect. â€œWhat can you do for us?â€ – Be positive and specific. â€œWhat are your strengths?â€ – Be honest, but not arrogant. â€œWhat are your weaknesses?â€ – Be careful. You probably donâ€™t want to say something that could be damaging, such as â€œI have a terrible temper.â€ But try to find a way to make a weakness a potential positive: â€œI tend to be a perfectionist, which I know can be difficult for some people to deal with.â€8. Know the answer to the question: â€œWhy should we hire you?â€ A good interviewer may actually ask you that. But even if she doesnâ€™t, you will be able to convey that knowledge intelligently through your answers to other questions.
9. Never complain about a current or previous employer. Itâ€™s a red flag to an interviewer.
10. Make no demands – such as salary, vacation, benefits, etc. – during the initial interview.
11. Watch your body language. Slouching posture, lack of eye communication, bored facial expressions, and nervous mannerisms send a signal of apathy or disrespect. Be pleasant and friendly, and donâ€™t forget to smile. And try to minimize those annoying â€œumsâ€ – they make you appear tentative and unsure.
12. Always follow up with a thank-you letter.
Barbara Busey, president of the training firmÂ Presentation Dynamics, has been a professional speaker, trainer and author since 1990. She does training and speaking on the â€œdynamicsâ€ of how people â€œpresentâ€ themselves, is the author of the award-winning book, â€œStand Out When You Stand Up,â€ and is the creator ofÂ The Compelling Speaker, a unique presentation skills training program that combines advance audio CD instruction with a hands-on, ultra participative workshop. Sign up for her newsletter, Stand Out Strategies, on her web site: http://www.presentationdynamics.net/ and receive a gift of her â€œTop Ten Stand Out Tips.â€
She now offers a Certification program, a three-day intensive workshop that certifies people in how to make a living offering the Compelling Speaker training. Go to http://www.compellingspeakercertification.com to learn more about this unique business opportunity and sign up for the special report, â€œDo You Have What it Takes to Run Your Own Training Business?â€