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Don’t Sweat That Job Interview

By on May 1, 2016
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How to stand out from the crowd

BY: David A. Kolman, Senior Editor

 

While a job interview can be a nerve-racking experience, it is essential to manage the stress. The interview is your opportunity to demonstrate to a prospective employer what type of person you are and what kind of employee you’d be if hired.

The best way to reduce the pressure is to be well prepared for the job interview. Yet, lack of preparation is frequently the biggest mistake job seekers make. Preparation can make the difference between receiving a job offer and being rejected.

Preparation Encompasses:

  • Knowing about the company you are applying to, its operations, the duties and responsibilities of the job and the compensation package. Do your homework online and talk with others about the company.
  • Being ready to answer any questions about your education, training, work experience, abilities, skills, any awards and recognition, and so forth.
  • Bringing along any necessary documentation and support materials.

Following are some guidelines to help you standout from the crowd and get off to a good start.

First Impressions

No matter how good you look on paper, everything you do—from how you interact with the interviewer and any others, to what you’re wearing, to your body language, to what you say or don’t say during the interview—is noted and considered in the evaluation process and the hiring decision. First impressions do count—a lot—because many inteviewers form an initial opinion about a prospective new hire within the first 5 to 30 seconds of their initial meeting, simply by noting appearance, posture and demeanor.

On the day of your interview, dress for success. Take a few moments to assess yourself and analyze your image. What does your appearance say about you?

Be on time. A late arrival is never a good way to start a job interview, which can already cause increased anxiety. Besides, running late causes unnecessary stress and frustration, and those are not good things to take into an interview.

Maintain a friendly, confident demeanor. Be able to thoughtfully and appropriately answer any questions with enthusiasm. Interviewers take notice of this “energy,” and that helps make a positive, lasting impression.

The same goes for a job applicant who answers questions with very little detail, or in a monotone voice, or with a lack of emotion.

State Your Case

Be prepared to make a convincing case demonstrating you are the best qualified to fill the position. Interview questions are typically designed to determine a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities. Be prepared to talk about your experience and qualifications without a lot of stammering, pausing to recall, or going blank.

Make sure you understand each question and ask for clarification if you don’t. When applicable, back up your statements with specific examples that demonstrate your strengths, experience and qualifications.

Prepare a list that enables you to ask insightful questions and learn more about the company’s needs. This not only demonstrates that you understand the company and the job position, but it will help you drill down to see if the company, the job and advancement opportunities, and the compensation and benefits package meet your requirements.

Stay focused during the job interview. Do not let your mind wander. Pay attention to what is being said. Answer all questions with interest and details. Formulate your answers in ways to show that you have the qualifications, skills and desire to be the perfect candidate for the job.

Realize that applicants who have been invited for an interview most likely have similar qualifications, skills and experience. The interviewers will probably hear many of the same answers to the questions they pose. An enthusiastic, upbeat attitude can be a difference maker in the final evaluation.

To sum things up, when getting ready for a job interview, keep in mind these words of Confucius, “Success depends upon preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure.”

David Kolman’s Interview Do’s & Don’ts: A checklist for success

Do…

  • make sure you have a professional-looking resume
  • clearly state your driving record and any awards, recognition you’ve received
  • invest time researching the company and preparing for the interview
  • dress appropriately and be neatly groomed
  • know how to get to the interview location and anticipate travel time, arriving at least 10 minutes early
  • turn off/silence mobile devices
  • be attentive, speak clearly and confidently
  • complete and bring all requested paperwork
  • maintain good eye contact and an upbeat, positive attitude
  • be certain your body language and the way you speak send a positive message
  • demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile in meeting the needs for on-time deliveries
  • make sure your answers are consistent when multiple interviewers compare their notes
  • ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question
  • thank the interviewer and follow up with a note of appreciation

Don’t…

  • be late
  • dress too casually or too outlandishly
  • chew gum or tobacco, bring food or beverages into an interview
  • lie or make excuses (rather you should take responsibility for your decisions and actions)
  • answer every question with a simple “yes” or “no”
  • use rude, crude, offensive or demeaning language
  • speak negatively about your current or former employer, boss or coworkers
  • bring up personal or family problems
  • make negative statements about yourself or bring up voids in your background, stay focused on the positives

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