Thursday, December 27, 2007

#1 of My Top 8 Behaviors for a Successful Interview

#1: Be your best “you.” There are many things a job candidate cannot control in an interview. The candidate has no control over whom, how and when interviews are conducted, what questions will be asked, or obviously, control over who gets the job. But there are a number of other things that a candidate does have control over. A candidate should ever lose a job offer because of something that was within their purview to make happen. Examples include: Being early for interview (anything short of a natural disaster sounds like merely an excuse for being late – and there are no excuses); Learn name of interviewer (smile, look them in the eye, and be sure to greet with a firm handshake); Use good manners (remember, this applies to everyone a candidate comes in contact with); Relax and answer each question concisely (noticeable nervousness and/or rambling answers are a distraction); Use proper English (avoid slang, speak clearly, focus on connecting and communicating); Be cooperative and enthusiastic (go with the flow, do not pick arguments, and smile a lot); Show interest with body language (use eye contact, sit-up straight, do not cross arms, etc.); Ask questions about position and organization (but avoid questions whose answers are easily found on company Web site); Avoid asking about pay in initial interview (unless a job offer is made, it can appear self-centered on part of candidate); Thank the interviewer (say thanks when you leave, remember the firm handshake, send a short thank you note).

In review, my top eight behaviors for a successful interview are:

#1: Be your best “you.”

#2: Clean-up your act.

#3: Treat everyone you encounter as a potential interviewer.

#4: Keep Cool.

#5: Beware of the small talk.

#6: There is value in the details.

#7: Do your homework.

#8: Smile.

Doing these eight behaviors will help you get an edge over the competition and achieve successful interview results. Best wishes for a profitable job search and winning interview in your future.

Monday, December 24, 2007

#2 of My Top 8 Behaviors for a Successful Interview

#2: Clean-up your act. This is a controversial area, but like it or not, a good part of the impression an interviewer first forms of you depends on how you're dressed. All protests aside about not “judging a book by its cover,” appearance still counts in an interview. Wear a nice suit or whatever is considered appropriate for the business. Even if you know the work place to be a casual environment, I believe it is OK to dress-up anyway. By wearing clothes that are coordinated, clean and pressed, it is one more way for the candidate to show interest and that they want the job. I know, many job candidates believe they are not being true to themselves if they dress differently than they do every day. But with competition for some jobs very keen, why not improve the odds of success by changing those things within your control?

Another long-time area of conflict is facial hair. Though beards are popular and more accepted on men of all ages, I still see surveys of hiring managers indicating a bias toward the clean shaven.

And though tattoos various body piercings are now mainstream and at the height of popularity, they too can be a point of bias on the part of interviewers. Therefore, all body art should be covered and all visible body piercings removed (with the exception of earrings). If the position requires you to represent the company to customers and/or the general public, the hiring company may have something to say about display of these things post-hire anyway.

Put your best foot forward in the interview, and "dress for success." You will be glad you did.