The job interview is feared by some, relished by others, but is a necessity, allowing you and your potential employer a small snippet of time to rate each other. It is a time when nerves can ruin your chance for an amazing career. It is a time when the right attitude can make a world of difference.
This right attitude, when combined with good planning can, and does, make a world of difference – getting you through to second stage interviews and beyond.
The trouble, in my humble opinion, a lot of information is out there – all ready to help you land that job. The problem is the amount. It is bewildering, causing many to spend too much time searching and not enough time understanding the job applied for.
To help you save some time, and improve your interview skills, I have conducted the research for you. The result, 5 simple tips that are proven to improve your chances of landing your dream job – kick starting your career, and adding years of happiness into your life. The right job with the right employer makes so much difference.
Before we dive in, I have conducted interviews as the employer and attended them as a prospective employee – so many that I have lost count. So I thought I would share some of my experiences. Some funny, like the person applying for an executive assistant role, who could not even get the time right, and the person who couldn’t find the office, and some great, where I have wanted to employ the person right away.
Seriously, your attitude is the starting point. Approach the job hunt with a self-branding mindset and confidence, and you will notice the difference.
The branding commences with the resumé, your first contact with the prospective employer. It is the most important tool you have, and the most difficult part of the process. Stop fooling yourself, the interview is easy, it is your resumé that gets you the interview. This is your time to rent just a little space in the minds of the employer.
With your resumé, you not only summarize your career and achievements, you are making your first pitch – you are advertising you and what you stand for. That is right, from your resumé and cover letter, the prospective employer can understand who you are, and what you have to offer.
You have an advantage though, you know the employer has a problem and they have been nice enough to define that problem for you. That is right it is the employer who has the problem, they have something they need done, they think have an idea of what they need, but in most cases have no idea who is the right person to do it and the best way to do it.
All you need to do is sell the employer on how well your experiences; qualifications and achievements will make their job easier. It is you who will solve a problem and it is you who will get to make some money – it’s going to cost the employer if they get it wrong.
How good is that – are you feeling empowered yet?
Maybe not. To make things a bit easier, think of your next job not in terms of the annual salary, but multiply it, most people stay in a job about 3 years, so start with a multiplier of 3. Instead of a $50,000 job, you are pitching to secure work for the next 3 years of $150,000 (this is great advice that I have stumbled across isn’t it).
Do you now have incentive to spend that extra time, researching, understanding and preparing a killer resume. All it takes is a bit of time to get a feel of the language the employer uses and a bit more to understand the business.
Today, more than ever, it’s easy. Just visit the employers website, check out their videos posted online and maybe even tap into your own network. You can even visit websites that give you all the information you need in one place, including reviews.
Be careful though, and I cannot stress this enough, understand what drives the employer before you jump in, read that job advertisement and make sure you know the keywords the employer uses and to put it in sales speak, the employers ‘hot buttons’. Knowing what to say and what to mention in your resumé is important. Many employers use software to find their keywords in the 1,000’s of resumes they receive.
Enough about the resumé, the fun really starts at the interview.
For the best of us the interview is stressful, and is the very reason many of us stick with jobs we hate. All of those people asking questions and a job on the line at the end of it, can make it daunting and too hard.
Stop, if that is you, you are wasting the little time you have and even doing something you don’t like, you need to change. Money is important, but so is your life, getting a new job is easy, change is fun and the interview – well take it from me, interviews are easy.
Interviews are not scary and a not worth wasting perfectly good opportunities for, just to avoid the interview.
I have fronted interview panels of 6 people, 4 people and even just one, and have found one thing they all have in common. All interviews are your chance to shine, it is your chance to find out if the employer is right for you, meeting new people along the way.
Remember, you are the problem solver here and is most definitely is not the other way around.
You need to adopt this attitude. Think of the interview, not as an interview for a job, but as another business meeting. A business meeting where the employer is telling why they are right for you, convincing you that they are the right employer for you and worthy of your talents.
This mindset puts you in control, but, and this is a big one, being ready is important. You need to understand the employer and what they are about. This helps you ask the right questions and puts you at ease.
The interview is your time to rate the employer. It the time you get to figure out if the employer and their position is right for you. That’s all. Forget about the employer making their assessment, you have a much more important need. Afterall, you know the employer likes you already, why else would you be there. You need to like them and only then can you confirm for them that you are the best for the role.
This is the mindset I have adopted, it allows me to approach the interview with clear goals, come across articulate as I have a clear head, and best of all, I get to ask the questions I need answered.
The outcome, I generally shine. More often than not, I’m offered the job – that’s if I haven’t already turned the employer down for not providing the right job for me.
It sounds simple I know, being ready equals being relaxed. So if you need some more convincing, try these tips out.
- iseek.org, follows on from our advice – Be prepared, know yourself including your strengths and career goals, and then prepare some intelligent questions to ask the potential employer. During that interview, be engaged – respond to all questions with truthful answers and listen carefully. Try not to focus on the salary side of things too much, and don’t bring too much attitude in about your previous employer.
- The folks at Lifehacker.com tell us that asking the right questions during the interview is just as important as making sure you answer the employers questions. These questions can help you decide if the employer is really right for you while making a lasting impression. The questions to ask include asking the interviewers to tell you what a typical day is like, what the organization defines as success, will you and your teammates be empowered to find better and more efficient way to do things, what projects you can give to and what is the immediate need the employer is trying to fill.
- Fastcompany.com clearly points out that interviewers want to figure out how articulate and confident you are, but remember you are selling yourself and a good sales person understands the target and tailors the message. So when explaining your career achievements start at the top and make sure you focus on your strengths and listen to what the employer needs. Be careful though if you have a job hoppers resume (changing jobs often), some interviews will not get past this question, try build your networks and meet people outside of the interview. Finally when explaining success, be candid without being arrogant – mention what others have said.
- employmentGuide.com, remind us to make sure we dress the part – making that first impression is ever so important, including the handshake and keep eye contact.
- Most importantly, give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview, and being early is something not worth worrying about. Being early has two effects, showing the employer how interested you are and relaxing you.
Good luck with your interview, and may problem solving take you to where you dream.
James Daniel is the manager of Business Development and author for rightplacetowork. Rightplacetowork’s ( http://www.rightplacetowork.com ) mission is to save you time when searching for jobs, to help you find the right place to work at. You’ll find the tools, reviews and information you need to make the right decision and sell yourself as the right person for the right job.
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