Career Advice – Interviewing

Everyone wants to find that dream job. We get so discouraged when we look, and look, and look for an opening, only to be turned after the interview. Well I have had successful interviews in my job days, and ultimately I know what employers are really looking for. This is going to be a two part series, with today’s lesson being solely for the unexperienced professional. If you are just out of college, or have not had an entry level position, then this is for you. Tomorrow, I will give tips and career advice in interviewing for the experienced professional, and how to negotiate up your dollar amounts. But there are some basics that apply to both categories outlined.

Interviewing Anxiety and Eagerness

This is the most important DON’T of interviewing. Employers are looking for people that want to work, but they are suspicious when someone is overly anxious. When you show a lot of nervousness, you tend to either talk too slow or too fast, your thoughts are not orderly, and you can end up making a fool of yourself. This is an easy way for the potential employer to scratch your name off the list. Be relaxed, take deep breaths, try to think about other things that are relaxing before you are called in for the interview.

Another tip from personal experience, it is good to show up early, but you need to preoccupy yourself before you go in to the interview. Think about when you were a child and in trouble with your parents, but you had to wait until Dad got home before the punishment would take place. The waiting often is much worse than the punishment. Same applies when waiting to be called in for an interview. So take something to read, or a crossword puzzle, or something to keep your mind from stressing over the upcoming interview. Bottom line, if you are relaxed, yet professional, you will stand out over your competitors.

Credentials

If you have made it to the interview, chances are likely that you have passed the employer’s minimal educational and experience requirements for the job. Don’t waste a lot of time talking about your credentials. Remember this about people, they care about themselves, not you. The interviewer is focused on the benefits you will bring to the company, not how many pretty degrees you hold. So focus on the benefits you will be providing, for example, working hard to improve the production of the company, instead of saying that you are a hard worker. Or, saying that you can provide new creativity to help boost sales or drive down costs of the organization, instead of saying that you had a 4.0 average in college. Hopefully you see how this sets the focus on what you can do for the company, not how awesome you are. Be creative, leverage your attributes into something the interviewer can use to push their business to the next level.

Interviewing Attire

This one isn’t too hard. Dress professionally. For guys, a shirt and tie is usually sufficient, for women, a business suit is probably the best idea. I will give you one tip here that may be of use – try not to look too polished. If you are a guy, loosen your tie just a bit before going into the interview, if you are a woman maybe leave a button undone on your suit coat (I am not saying to show anything off here). What I am saying, is that you should look professional, but if there is one or two things that are not quite perfect with your attire, you might send the signal of a hard worker, which is good.

Putting it All Together for the Interview

Utilizing the steps above, if you stay relaxed, keep the conversion light but on topic, focus on the benefits that you will provide to the company, and are dressed professional but with a feeling of a strong work ethic, you will poise yourself for the best possible chance of winning that job. Remember, employer’s don’t hire resumes, they hire people that will benefit their company. The resume just gets you in the door. All of these tips I have given you will help you to connect with the employer, and build a relationship. Bottom line, the person that the company is the most comfortable with, is the one that will get the job. They need to like you, and believe that you will provide the most value to the company.

Check out Part 2 of Career Advice – Interviewing

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