Published here May 2022


Musings Index

Smaller Details Go a Long Way to a Successful Job Interview

So, now that you are no longer house-bound by the Corona pandemic, it is your time for steady employment. That means a lot of work in research of what is available, what you would like to do, where and when, to say nothing of what you are capable of actually doing. That is more than we can cover here, but we can tackle some suggestions for how to handle some all-important interview details.

In this regard, a few months ago, Alex Smith of reminded me of a short article submitted by Angela Civitella on the subject of self-presentation at a job interview. Angela is well known to us and has been quoted before on this web site. She is a certified business leadership coach and founder of Intinde. Angela says that if you want to standout and get the job, focus on the following 7 things in your next interview.

1. Eye contact
The very first thing a hiring manager or recruiter looks for in an interview is whether or not you make eye contact when introducing yourself. Doing so is a sign of confidence. Looking away or off to the side is a sign of weakness. If you fail to make eye contact, you risk losing the opportunity before you even say a word.

2. Asking "how are you"
The biggest mistake most job candidates make when going in for an interview is focusing too much on themselves. Yes, you are there to sell yourself to the employer; however, an interview is a two-way street. Always ask the person interviewing you how they are doing. This is a good indication of how you treat coworkers, customers and people in general.

3. Accept a drink when offered
Even if you're not thirsty, when the interviewer asks if you would like something to drink, simply smile and say yes, please, some water would be great. This is an old psychological trick that has been shown to help you appear more likeable by accepting a small offer. Some candidates say it gives them a chance to make small talk and get more personable with the interviewer.

4. Perfecting your timing when responding
When the job interviewer asks you a question, she is looking at much more than your response to the question. She is also looking at how you answer the question. If you blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, it shows you act quickly and don't give things much thought. If you sit and think about your response too long, it shows you are indecisive. Find the right balance of thinking before speaking. Similarly, always let the interviewer finish her sentence before you jump in to reply.

5. Focusing on longevity
One of the biggest challenges most companies have to deal with is employee turnover. It cost them both time and money. One way to standout in your interview is to show them that you are in this for the long haul. You're not just looking for another job, but a lifelong career with their organization.

6. Asking questions
Near the end of an interview, the hiring manager will usually ask if you have any questions. The worst thing you can say is "no." Truthfully, they aren't as concerned with what you ask, just the fact that you ask something. First, it shows that you care and have a genuine interest in the job and the company. Next, it shows them that you are inquisitive, not afraid to ask questions and seek details. These are key character traits that companies want in people.

7. A thank you note
Sending a thank you note after your interview is always a good tactic. This must be done within 24 hours of your interview. It shows the recruiter that you appreciate the time he or she took to conduct the interview, and it also shows a lot about your character. If filling the position is a contest between two candidates with similar qualifications, this will often be the deciding factor.

Good luck with your next opportunity.

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