If you havenít looked for a job in a while, skydiving might be preferable to interviewing. But there are a few simple steps that will remove the fear and give you the confidence youíd otherwise wish you had.
Common sense says you need to research the company via their website, brochures or the library, although youíd be surprised at how many skip the obvious. Basics also include bringing a few extra copies of your resume to hand out if necessary, arriving early, dressing professionally, and knowing what you have to offer the company.
But those are no-brainers, or they should be. What even experienced interviewers often fail to do is ask, in detail, about the position. So get away from the job description and dig into the actuality of that job in that company, as it stands right now. Find out why the position is open and how long itís been vacant. Ask also how long the previous person was there. If that person was there less than two years, find out how long the previous person was there. If both are short, chances are you wonít be there long either.
You want to know what the first priority to be addressed is, if thereís a time frame for accomplishing it, and if so, what it is. Is it a realistic one? And overall, in what condition is the job youíll be picking up? Is it maintenance? Troubleshooting and clean up? Smooth, accelerated growth? And how do the answers sit with you?
The toughest thing about interviewing is that you need to find out about the position and sell yourself as the one for the job Ė concurrently. That means youíre going after it before you even know if you want it. Process it later. Itís easier to close the door than open it when itís too late. In the meantime, to stay in control of your career, if what youíre hearing is agreeable to you, then show enthusiasm and throw the stiff formality out the window.
Interviews should be dialogues, not question and answer sessions. You canít change the subject, but you can ask a question about the topic thatís on the table. This gives you additional insight into the position and what theyíre looking for. It also helps what part of your background you want to talk about, leaving you less likely to ramble on, hoping something will be impressive.
You can also ask for clarification if something sounds a littleÖÖ.off. But pay attention to your tone of voice and your body language. A furrowed brow, a puzzled tone, and a curled lip are much more off putting than an interested tone, a smile, and a relaxed open manner. The latter shows genuine interest in the details. The former can sometimes be construed as the mark of a difficult person.
Pretend youíre interviewing with a friendís company, and itís just a formality. How would you be sitting? Sounding? What would your word choices be? Because self confidence has a completely different look and feel to it, and companies donít want to hire desperate people. They want to be specifically chosen for who they are and what they offer. Just like you do.
- Judi Perkins
Judi was a very successful recruiter for 22 years (15 contingency, 4 agency, 3 retained) and has now been a career coach for 3. The recruiter background, especially having been all three types, gives her deep insight into both sides of the hiring process. Now she teaches job seekers both the skill and psychological aspects of job hunting.
Sign up for her upcoming instructional webinar Interview Techniques That Can Lead to Job Offers" . Learn how to sell yourself, ask questions, create dialogue and get to the essence with a few simple techniques that are applicable at all levels.
Judi has been interviewed as an expert for books at each author's request; has her own book, "How to Find Your Perfect Job;:and has been quoted in numerous on and offline articles. She's also done radio interviews and speaking gigs. Her clients find jobs quickly, ending their months of frustration!