In today’s job market, you can’t just waltz into an interview and expect to get an offer. You’re competing against dozens of other candidates and must put your best foot forward. Knowing where to start will help you get better results.
Here are a few useful tips:
- Over-Communicate on the Front End
Many job seekers are worried that they’ll come across as being too enthusiastic and eager. Perhaps that’s you? You fear you’ll make yourself look desperate, so you play it cool.
But do you want to know the truth? It’s much more likely that you’re under-communicating (rather than over-communicating). In doing so, you’re allowing other people to move ahead of you in the pecking order and get a better shot at the job.
One of the best rules of thumb is to over-communicate on the front end. In other words, ask questions about how the job interview will go, what you should come prepared with, how you can add value, etc. To a business owner or hiring manager, your proactive attention to detail will come across loud and clear.
- Nail the First 5 Seconds
First impressions are everything. The moment you walk into the office or meeting room for the interview, all eyes will be on you. And before you even open your mouth, an impression will already have been made.
Here are some ways you can take control of this impression and make it a positive one:
- Dress like your job depends on it. Don’t have a professional wardrobe?. You don’t have to spend an entire paycheck. There are plenty of stylish and affordable suit options.
- Pin your shoulder high and back with your chin up. Avoid rolling your shoulders forward or looking down. No matter how confident you are, conveying the correct posture makes you come across in a more powerful light.
- People like working with other people they get along with. Even in professional settings, showing personality is important. Make sure to smile and extend a firm handshake that lets people know you’re someone they can trust.
If you do these three things, you’ll make a positive first impression before ever speaking. This gives you the benefit of the doubt and allows you to portray yourself in a positive light.
- Come Prepared
It doesn’t matter how good you are on your feet; show up prepared. Research the company and learn absolutely everything you can about them online. This includes:
- Spend time on the website and get to know the company’s story, who the different team members are, and their stories. (If the company includes headshots of employees, memorize every face and name. You never know who you’ll encounter – and memorizing names ahead of time ensures you’ll be able to call them by name.)
- Read the past 5-10 blog posts on the company blog to understand their voice, beliefs, and focus.
- Follow all of the company’s social media profiles and pay attention to what type of content they share.
- Conduct simple Google and YouTube searches to see what additional information you can glean about the company and its individual team members.
You won’t be able to use 90 percent of the information you gather about the company. But the context it provides is invaluable. It allows you to ask the right questions and guide the conversation in a way that makes you appear knowledgeable and trustworthy.
- Follow Up
There’s a saying in business that fortune is in the follow up. And while this line is typically used within the context of sales, it holds true with job interviews and networking as well.
Nine out of ten people who interview for a job will wait to hear back from the employer. You can set yourself apart by following up in a tasteful and appropriate way. A handwritten note is one great option, but even a personalized email can do wonders.
Adding it All Up
The job market is as competitive as it has ever been. If you want to compete for the right jobs, you can’t rely on your resume or connections. While it’s good to have these things, you ultimately must make a positive impression on the decision makers filling the role. By acing the interview, you can set yourself up for success and push past the pretenders who are too busy formatting their resumes.