When it comes time for you to meet with a prospective employer you want to be a prepared as possible. It doesn’t matter if you are seeking an hourly wage position or an executive level career posting — the person who will make the hiring decision wants to see you at your best. From the way you appear to them when you first enter the interview area, to the answers your offer to their questions, to the overall demeanor of your personality, you will be judged — make no mistake of that. Understanding that reality means it is to your decided advantage to control as many of the key job interview factors as you can. In this article we will address some of the world’s best job interview success tips, so you may have a better idea about how to address and manage some of those key job interview skills.
First of all, appearance. As obvious as it may seem to some, not everyone dresses appropriately for a job interview. Your idea of appropriate dress may often come into conflict with what is expected by the hiring authority — maybe not. Please remember that the hiring decision maker, like most of us, wants respect. They don’t necessarily want to see your sexiest garb, or your hippest attire, or your most faddish display. Mostly, they want to see you dress nicely, usually in a suit — yes, even for hourly wage jobs.
Recently, I had a restaurant executive who met with the CEO of the company at one of the restaurants that happen to be in the local area where the job candidate resided. It was meant to be a job interview meeting, but one orchestrated to occur at one of the CEO’s causal themed restaurant locations. The CEO felt it was a good way to illustrate the image and flavor of the company to the prospective job candidate. Imagine the surprise, which I heard about later, when the job candidate walks in wearing a golf shirt and pair of loose fitting jeans and sneakers. The job candidate, whom I questioned later, felt since it was a casual job interview location it was appropriate to dress casually. I informed him that the CEO did not feel the same way. The idea is this, even if the interview location is casual, always dress in a suit, ladies too. Dress to show the level of your professionalism, not to match the physical location. However, that rule goes out the window when the job interview might be in an unusual environment, such as a factory tour location, heavy construction area, or such. In those cases, ask the person setting the interview what sort of dress is expected. Otherwise, always dress to make a great impression the instant you enter the job interview area.
The next most important job interview success tip is your demeanor, your personality. Smile. Be friendly, but not superficially pleasing. Plan to engage the job interviewer as much as they engage you. Strive to remain composed throughout the interview. Most interviewers will attempt to put the applicant at ease, in order to elicit “off the cuff” remarks and spontaneous answers that reveal aspects about one’s self that may not otherwise be offered. If you enter into a job interview with the intention to retain a somewhat detached, friendly, but professional attitude, you will be at ease, but you will also maintain your sense of decorum and objectivity. That sort of an approach helps create in the mind of the interviewer the belief that you have an aire of confidence and control, a friendly, but results oriented personality — because it will be true. But that sort of demeanor doesn’t happen on its own. You must prepare by practicing those attributes prior to your job interview. And it’s easy to practice those skills.
Without announcing your intention, enter into just such a somewhat detached, but friendly and still engaging attitude when you are visiting with family or friends, or if you meet someone new. You will soon see that such a professional demeanor is an easy persona to turn on or off. And don’t feel like you are portraying a fake part of yourself, a faux-you. You don’t go out in public in your underwear — or, at least most of us don’t. In that same way, job interviewers want to see the best part of your personalities, not the full spectrum of your emotions.
Lastly, prepare in advance for the type of questions you expect to have to address in a job interview. Each vocation will have its own set of related job questions, so it is difficult to address in this article all the possible questions that may arise. Suffice it to say that if you make a list of the primary issues or other problems that are routinely addressed in the sort of job you will interview for, then create a specific list of solution strategies that answer those problems with practical remedies — and have an example from your experience about how each remedy was implemented — then you will move far ahead in your efforts to express yourself as solutions oriented job applicant.
In many cases, it is also prudent to quantify your answers as much as possible; meaning to say, apply to your answers numerical statistics or results. If you think of a job interview as a sales presentation — which it is — then you will understand that every supporting material you can bring to bear will strengthen your candidacy for the job at hand. That includes having copies of any training or educational or vocation related certification or degree or accomplishment that may apply to or be of interest to the interviewer, or related to the job.
Follow the guidelines above, let them guide you as you prepare for a job interview. Too often applicants feel that they know their skills and experiences better than anyone else and that they alone can decide the best way to present their credentials and skills. Maybe that is true for some. But for most of us, we get caught up in ego based beliefs that cause us to enter into a job interview without consideration of how what we do or say or how our behavior may influence the outcome of a job interview. If you doubt that statement, please ponder the example of the very skilled, very professional, very knowledgeable restaurant executive whose “beliefs” caused him to dress down because his logic told him strongly that a casual environment meant casual dress. He is still looking for a good job, and has since realized the mistake it was to follow his own good advice when it comes to a job interview.