Interviewing can be a stressful process, but if you prepare for the good and the bad, you will have full control of the process and not allow it to have control of you. Once you have received an invitation to talk more about your potential value to an organization, you are half way there. It then is up to you to do the rest.
- Don’t overlook the receptionist. In a past post I explained the importance of a receptionist. The receptionist can be the eyes and ears of any organization, yet the receptionist is often overlooked when having important conversations or when it comes to showing courteousness and kindness. Most people look at a receptionist as an insignificant initial contact when job-seeking but often a receptionist is the one a good manager knows to go to for a final decision about hiring. Bosses want to know how nice you were when you greeted the receptionist. They ask questions about your timeliness, genuineness and how the receptionist felt about you at first interaction. These initial interactions are vital to your overall impression when job-seeking. Greet everyone just as you would like to be greeted and most importantly, give extra special attention to the front office by making that receptionist say “Wow, I would love to work with him/her”.
- Rehearse your strengths (what makes you stand out?) and weaknesses (areas of opportunity for improvement). Often employers ask “Why do you believe you are a good fit for this organization?”. You want to respond with confidence and be sure to articulate your strengths in such a way that it cannot be challenged. For example, identify your strengths as personal life events and experiences. These are things no other can challenge or question because they are your personal experiences which have led to your learning lessons and contributed to your skill and knowledge. Now for your weaknesses – I don’t consider anything a weakness, only an “area of opportunity for improvement”. So when the question comes up “What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?” Respond by re-framing the question as “I believe there are areas of opportunity I’ve experienced and areas that have made the most impact throughout my career, for example…..”. Then begin talking about the lessons you have learned which have helped you to grow. You see, weaknesses are a negative area to talk about, but remember you have control of the pace of the interview. You have the power to change it from a robotic line of questioning to a conversational format by sharing your story and getting the interviewer engaged in your story-telling.
Dress for Success! In a recent personal branding workshop Style Strategist, Tonya Seavers said “Organizations want to know you can represent their brand well.” Remember, if you want to be considered a part of their team, they have to feel that you will “fit in” at the very least with their idea image of what they want others to know about their brand. They want potential clients to see the professionalism throughout the organization and believe it or not, that is 50% found in physical appearance and interaction. Unfortunately, it is not enough that you have the knowledge and skill. How you present the total package is what the employer is buying into. There is no wait and see offer on the table when joining a new organization. They want to see what they are investing in right from the start and if you don’t value your appearance enough to ensure it is suitable for the organization then it is justifiable an employer will question the value of your work.
Now keep in mind, not every job that seems like a good fit is the right fit. You may do all great things in your interview and go home and decide you didn’t like it there and that’s perfectly okay! Spend time to invest in articulating your greatness and make room for asking questions to get the most out of your interview experience.
I hope these tips help you on your next interview!