By Debbie Gregory.
With fewer interview opportunities available in a competitive job market, it’s essential to make the best possible first impression in your interview. Here are some time-tested standard dos and don’ts to adhere to:
Prepare: Research the people interviewing you, the company, and the job itself. Know what does the company does, how they compare culturally and financially to their competitors, the company’s history, the requirements for the job, and how your experience matches those requirements. Practice interviewing with friends.
Engage: Remember that you are, first and foremost, having a conversation. It’s nerve-wracking and highly formalized, but avoid stock responses. Preparation is a foundation, not a set-in-stone strategy.
Match communication styles: Communicate effectively with your interviewer. Mirror his or her communication style. Allow your interviewer to set the tone of the conversation. For example, if the interviewer seems all business, don’t attempt to loosen him or her up with a joke or story. If the interviewer is personable, try discussing his or her interests. Often personal items on display in the office can be a clue. If asked a direct question, answer directly. Then follow up by asking if more information is needed.
Be late: This rule is ironclad. No excuses, no exceptions. Showing up late shows disregard for your potential employer’s time, and insinuates your inability to plan.
Say negative things about your current or past employers or managers: No matter how grounded your complaints are, negative comments will be viewed as disrespectful. When faced with the challenge of talking about former employers, make sure you are prepared with a positive spin on your experiences.
Be Desperate: Never let on that you’re applying just because you need a job. It’s in the best interests of the employer to hire a passionate employee rather than someone who is simply filling a slot. Prepare a list of questions that show investment in the company, how they do business, and their place in the industry.
Show lapses in your professional veneer: The interview begins as soon as you receive notice that they want to interview you. Party pictures on social media? Not a great idea. As soon as you enter the building, make sure you treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Don’t let your professional veneer slip for a moment.
Talk too much: Don’t take too long to answer direct questions. It gives the impression that you can’t get to the point. An even though you’re nervous, try not to over-talk.
Give away too much information: Don’t weaken future earning potential by speaking too freely about current income. No matter the official salary range of the position you are interviewing for, your current earnings have an enormous effect on the size of the offer.
You already know your resume set you apart as a candidate of choice to be invited for an interview. Hone your interviewing skills to actually win job offers. Polishing your interviewing skills can mean the difference between getting the job and being a runner-up.
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Ace That Job Interview: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory