Do These 5 Things for a Successful Interview
There are many articles out there on what to do to have a great job interview. I certainly could list all the techniques. But really, when all is said and done, it really comes down to whether you and the interviewers click. It comes down chemistry and likeability. For sure, qualifications are important, but when everything else is equal, it comes down to a question of whether they like you as a person and would like to work with you.
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be prepared, that you need to research the company and that you should have appropriate and pertinent questions to ask. Beyond all this, however, your people skills (some call them “soft skills”) are what are going to make or break the interview. The interviewers want to know if you are confident and teachable. They want to see if you would fit in well with the rest of the organization (the other employees). They want to know if you have good adaptability skills. Your ability to deal with and get along with others is an important factor in hiring.
Make An Effective and Positive First Impression
First impressions say a lot and how we are dressed and groomed speaks volumes. When we dress appropriately for a job interview, we are conveying the message that we respect the company and the people interviewing us. A neat and appropriate appearance speaks to how we value ourselves as well, the respect we have for ourselves. Employers want to see that we carry ourselves with confidence and attention to detail. For them, this is an indication of how we will approach our work at their company or business.
Pay attention to every detail. Be punctual and courteous Interviewers do not have time to waste waiting for late candidates and lack of punctuality will be seen as a clear lack o respect for their time. Remember to greet the receptionist with as much regard as you would for the person (or persons) interviewing you. And while you are waiting for your interview, please don’t have your cell phone out. Keep it away and on mute. No one enjoys watching someone tapping away at a cell phone or being disturbed by someone talking (or texting) on his phone. Furthermore, this only shows that you are disinterested in the company and the people around you. Remember, the receptionist has her eye on you. He or she is the “eyes” for the employer and the official “gatekeeper.”
The time you are waiting for your interview is an excellent opportunity to look around and get a feel for the company or business. Try to gauge the atmosphere and the social temperature. You can pick up clues from this activity that will help you in the interview. Don’t waste waiting time just waiting. You can also spend this time working on your own mental image and how you see yourself. Build up your confidant and friendly self right there while you are waiting. Have a heart to heart talk with yourself to make sure you have a winning mindset from the gate.
Use Body Language to Your Advantage
The interview begins well before the actual job interview. It may begin in the parking lot or the lobby. You never know who is observing you, so it is a good idea to exude quiet and friendly confidence wherever you are. Your body language conveys a good deal of information about you. Even if you are not aware of it, other people most certainly will be.
Walk confidently and smile (be friendly) to everyone you meet. Even while you are waiting for the interview, don’t sit hunched over or slouch down in the chair offered you. Good posture shows confidence, friendliness, and preparedness. Smile! Smile at everyone who speaks to you. People will perceive you as friendly and approachable and a smile will put you at ease as well. A smile can break down a lot of barriers. Good eye contact shows sincerity. It reveals that you can be trusted and that you trust the person you are speaking to. And, finally, a firm (not wimpy or bone-crushing) handshake shows confidence and connection. It seals the connection.
As you are being led into the interview room, respect protocol by following the lead – walk behind, not in front of your escort. Wait until being offered a seat before sitting and sit with good posture. Be balanced in everything, including your hand gesturing. You certainly do not want to give the impression that you are overly excited with waving hands. Also, while it is good to make eye contact, it is best not to sustain prolonged eye contact-that would just look weird and intimidating.
Be a Respectful Conversationalist
Good conversationalists are good listeners. Listen thoughtfully and attentively. This is how you will be able to come up with pertinent questions to ask and the interviewer will see that you have been listening. Don’ t be afraid to ask for clarification. The interview is as much an opportunity for you to see if the position is a good fit as it is for the interviewer. Above all, don’t talk too much. Don’t ramble on about yourself or your accomplishments. You will just come across as being a conversation hog. No one enjoys listening to someone ramble on about all they have accomplished.
Ask pertinent questions. Ask the interviewer to clarify or expand on points made. Pertinent questions are relative to what was discussed show your interest in knowing more as well as sincerity. When you are asked questions, consider the question thoughtfully. A thoughtful response shows respect for the one asking the question. A hasty response does not convey a positive image. On the contrary, you will come across as someone that does not think things out carefully, which does not reflect well.
Show Appreciation for the Interviewer’s Time
The interviewers have taken time out of their busy schedule to meet with you. Let them know that you appreciate their time and use it wisely. Be courteous and respect the time frame. You are probably not the only candidate; they have to meet with many others. Get right to the point when answering and asking questions and only ask questions which are directly pertinent to the position. Wait until they indicate the interview is over, but don’t try to prolong it with unnecessary talk. For a good ending to a job interview, rise smoothly and offer a firm handshake, a warm smile, and friendly eye contact. Thank the interviewers for their time and affirm that you look forward to seeing them again.
On your way out, remember to greet the receptionist again and thank her for her time. Remember he or she is the gatekeeper. Leave him or her with a good impression of you. Follow up your interview with a thank you note (or email). This detail is always appreciated. Let them know again that you appreciated their time and that you look forward to hearing from them.
Remember: The Soft Skills Matter
Of course competency and experience count for a lot. But, what people really want to know is whether they like you and will be able to work with you. If you come across as a well-skilled, but the unenthusiastic or unconfident candidate, they will for sure wonder if you will be able to fit in. If you are highly competent but neglect the basic courtesies your chances of being hired are less. A candidate who talks too much about himself will leave the interviewers thinking that he is more interested in himself ( and his accomplishments) than working with others on a team and for common goals.
People always appreciate a person who is interested in them and who expresses this interest. They love people who are good listeners and who ask pertinent questions. Interviewers are looking for people who have good communication skills, can work well in a team environment and who generally have a positive and friendly outlook. No matter how competent you may be for the position in question, if you do not possess good interpersonal communication skills and a positive attitude, this lack will lessen your chances of a successful interview.
You can ace the interview. You can leave a great lasting impression. It really comes down to some very simple things which are really all about valuing the other person and his time. Be likable in your approach. Take an interest in others. Show appreciation and courtesy. Listen more than you talk and smile with your eyes as well as with your mouth. Great people skills can make up for any competency holes you may have in your résumé. this doesn’t mean you should apply for a position for you are completely unqualified, though. It just means that you can make up for any weakness with a winning people-oriented approach.
Have a great day!
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- November 13, 2019