Interviewing can be daunting. But here are three ways to help you get a leg up on the competition.
The “Dress For Success” Mystique
Human beings have a funny way of judging things very quickly. Likes and dislikes are subjective, and one thing we can’t seem to get a handle on is why employers tend to hire people they like. With that said, employers like people who dress well, make good first impressions, and appear to be professional - employers believe those people will make good decisions in their job. And they’re usually right. The best rule of thumb for dressing for success is to dress for the job you “want”, not the job you “have”. Dress for a job above yours - observe the dress patterns of the people you admire at work - those people understand the importance of dressing well to get noticed.
The “Tell Me About Yourself” rumour
Its the most commonly known interview question in the world. The reason most employers ask it is to break the ice with “something easy”. Trouble is, it’s not so easy when you’re nervous, under pressure, and unprepared to “just talk” for a couple of minutes. The best thing to do is to prepare yourself for a concise, but easy-going answer. Include personal (not business) information that might give the interviewer a chance to learn a little bit about who you are. You’ve already dressed to reflect some of your business goals, so now you might consider telling the interviewer where you’re from originally, what you do in your spare time, the sports you enjoy most, your favourite books or movies, and perhaps the name of the person you look up to most. Ideally, give them one or two irresistible nuggets of information that they feel compelled to ask you to elaborate on - it’s what they want, and it’ll help get the interview going smoothly. Your answer should, above all, be natural, unrehearsed, and honest. Nothing endears people to you more than honesty and integrity. And if you prove to be easy to talk to, you’ll be in their “good books” from the start.
The Importance of “Closing” the Deal
Do your very best to offer insightful answers throughout the interview. But when the interviewer has finished asking you all of her questions, it’s your chance to really shine: get her impression of how good your chances are. You’ve given your best answers, you were thoughtful and calm, and now you need to find out if the interviewer is likely to give you the offer. And here’s how you’ll know: Ask. “Is there any reason I would not be considered for this role?” If the employer does her job, she should try not to commit to hiring you during an interview. They will likely answer you by telling you they can not make a decision until she has completed the rest of her interviews. But that’s not your cue to quit: “If I were the last interview, would I be your first choice for this role?” If the employer answers with anything but “yes”, it’s your job to forge ahead with more questions. “Is there anything in my application that would prevent me from being your first choice for this role?” Above all, your job at this stage is to parlay your interest, eagerness, and preparedness for this role. These days, the right attitude and fit are the deciding factors in extending offers of employment. Make sure you stand out by “closing” your excitement about this job.
Steve Baldwin is CEO of Officejobs.com. With dual head offices in Canada, Officejobs.com serves reputable employers nationally. Expert recruiters provide insight and advice to employers and job seekers alike, combining advanced online recruitment technologies with old fashioned wisdom.