5 Steps to Outshine Your Competition in a Job Interview

5 Steps to Outshine Your Competition in a Job Interview

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An interview is a business transaction wherein the objective of the hiring manager (the person who has the authority to hire) is to make a selection among job candidates called in for interviews. A candidate has two challenges: first, to convince the hiring manager that he is the ideal candidate for the position, and second, to outshine the others (i.e., the competition for the job). Following are several suggestions.

First, prepare for the interview by working with a seasoned interview coach. An interview coach can practice with you certain mock-interviewing techniques, thereby helping you to not only answer difficult interview questions but also recognize traps and avoid saying the wrong things. As an interview coach, I need no less than five hours to get someone ready for the big test. If the result is to get the job, then the fee paid for such a service is merely a drop in the bucket.

Second, prepare your SARBs: situation/action/result/benefit. These are short vignettes about your experience, describing for the interviewer how you solved problems on the job and the results and benefits to employers. They are the tools you bring with you to the interview. If presented well, the examples will convince the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.

Third, research the company. Spend some time in the public library investigating as much as you can about the company. You cannot overdo this aspect of the job search, and neither should you underestimate the importance of showing the interviewer you understand–on either a macro- or microlevel–the issues the company faces.  Knowing details about the company improves the “cultural fit-factor”.

Fourth, use your personal connections via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to discover as much information as you can about the people you’re going to interview with. While doing that, attempt to find something in common with them. This is very important, because people are known to hire candidates with whom they can build a relationship even during the interview process.

And fifth and last but not less important, make sure the position you’re interviewing for aligns with your own needs and desires. Consider your skills and attributes and traits. Evaluate the organization’s work environment, the commute, the compensation, and the benefits. Pay attention to your gut feeling. If it feels good, make sure you clearly show your enthusiasm. This is what the hiring manager wants to “buy.”

 

Is the First Impression in an Interview Important and Why

Is the First Impression in an Interview Important and Why

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“Nobody impresses me for the first sixty days on the job.” This was a saying that all of those working with me in the corporate world would hear me say over and over. I wanted to express that there’s a difference between the impression a job seeker leaves initially—even as early as during the interview—and the impression an employee makes afterward for the duration. I have proved that particular opinion to be correct many times over: people who had made a great impression during the interview not in all cases demonstrated those great qualities and extensive knowledge some months after being hired and on the job.

But let’s first agree on the purpose of the interview. No, it is not to get the job. It is to get a job offer. And once the offer was committed to paper and received by the candidate, the latter must perform due diligence, evaluate the offer, negotiate if appropriate and possible, and then make a final decision. However, to get that coveted letter that starts with the word Congratulations, one needs to convince the hiring team that one is the ideal candidate.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first impression

We’ve all heard the saying that the first impression is a lasting impression. And it’s true. Interview guru Lou Adler performed an otherwise admittedly less-than-scientific study via a survey. The result was that more than 80 percent of people like a person they meet for the first time. And this is applicable also in an interview situation. A further question asked about the importance of that first impression; in Adler’s study example, it was a salesperson. Of the respondents, 85 percent indicated that the first impression is highly important. Now, I don’t think there’s anything new or surprising about those numbers, but they do support the general tenet of the importance of the first impression.

The first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse. The impression made during a first encounter is extremely important, simply because it sets the scene for all future interactions.

Remember the importance of the smile!

“Smile and the world smiles too,” as the adage goes. There’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A pleasant and confident smile puts both parties at ease. So, smiling is always a winner when it comes to making a great first impression.

Project confidence

Body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words. Use your body language to project self-assurance. Stand tall, make eye contact, and greet with a firm handshake. Good manners together with polite, attentive, and enthusiastic behavior help make a good first impression.  When decision making comes, people will forget all the words you said but will remember the image you created.

How to Overcome Fear While In-transition

How to Overcome Fear While In-transition

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During my work with job seekers or those contemplating a job/career change, I evaluate the amount of fear that drives—or paralyzes—my clients. To some extent, all of them exhibit fear originated by some threat—or so they perceive. For a person out of a job, that feeling is not only a perception but also, unfortunately, a reality. The normal human body has a built-in mechanism to protect itself from such an emotion by either confronting it or running away from it. It’s also known as the fight-or-flight response. In more-extreme situations, such fear leads to anxiety, but I’ll let a mental-health professional explain that one.

Conversely, a few clients indeed become energized by fear resulting from lack of employment. Their adrenaline levels rise sharply, and they’re ready to attack. They see opportunities coming out of this employment change, and nothing stops them from getting to their next assignment. They exhibit a go-getter mentality and thrive on even small incremental successes. However, the majority of those I see react to their unknown futures by clamming up and thus thinking they’re protecting themselves during this vulnerable stage of their life. I vividly remember my own situation during a transition. My entire attitude could have been described as, “The answer is no, so what’s your question?” It’s a shame that our emotions and our logic are not always congruent.

In working with people who at times seem paralyzed due to their new, jobless reality, I try to clearly understand what’s behind the obvious fact that they don’t have jobs. That understanding is typically complex and intertwined with other, tangled elements. For example, embarrassment vis-à-vis family and friends, or self-humiliation as a parent unable to financially support a child who wants and deserves a college education, or, perhaps, aggravation of an already bad spousal relationship due to the inability to contribute to basic family finances for an extended period. And the list can go on and on.

In such a situation, my solution is to attempt to provide clients with (1) job search tools, (2) exposure to and familiarity with the job search process, (3) ample amounts of mock interviewing that increase clients’ confidence, knowledge and experience, and above all, (4) listening as they talk about their pain, and (5) an understanding of all they’re going through. Another tactic that’s proved successful is helping clients learn to divert their attention to something positive. For example, clients can learn to network effectively in order to establish new relationships with people who may be able to help them and whom in turn they can help. Clients can also learn to discuss volunteering opportunities that not only could lead to a job but in the interim could help job seekers mingle with other people. And, more often than not, volunteers could hear again the words “Thanks for a job well done”—a sentiment that for a while has probably been absent from their lives.