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1. Come Prepared:
Today’s job seeker should realize that they have a lot of competition. It will be unfortunate to end up being disqualified as a candidate for a position you qualify for, just because you did not take the time to prepare. According to Dan Klamm, Outreach & Marketing Coordinator at Syracuse University Career Services, “Succeeding at a job interview is all about coming prepared: Doing company research and being able to articulate how your unique skills and experiences are a fit for the job.” Employers want to know that you have done your homework. You can show this by, demonstrating what you know about the organization and its key people; by understanding the position you have applied for; by being able to define who you are; by effectively communication your past experiences and credentials; and by being able to understand how you are expected to respond to different circumstances.
2. Address any concerns you perceive.
Use your cover letter to address issues such as lack of experience, over-qualification, and employment gaps, but don’t think that just because you mention these issues, that they have been resolved. Use the interview as an opportunity to address any concerns the employer may have. Make sure that the employer is clear on the reasoning behind actions or circumstances that are being questioned. For instance, you can respond to questions that relate to employment gaps by showing that you took some time to complete a training course, or that your were engaged in some other activity that is relevant to your career growth. If you are responding to the issue of being overqualified, make sure the employer knows that you understand the current position’s limitations when compared to what you have done in the past; and that at this time, you are more interested in working in a certain organization or capacity, rather than titles or compensation.
3. Show Enthusiasm:
To a hiring manager, there is no greater turn-off than an unenthusiastic candidate. The slightest show of a lack of passion can instantly disqualify an otherwise viable candidate. This is because the employer wants to hire someone that will be happy at their new job. Doing so will eliminate concerns that pertain to that individual’s intent to stay at the position, and will increase the chances that such an individual will stay productive.
4. Your Personality Counts:
Even before you are invited to interview for a position, the employer has performed various pre-screening evaluations which lead them to believe that you are qualified for the position. The request for a face-to-face interview with you, confirms or dispels this belief; and more importantly gives the employer an opportunity to evaluate your personality. Ensure that you remain courteous and professional throughout your interview, and with everyone you encounter including the receptionist! The hiring manager is watching for every indication that you will fit perfectly into the organization’s culture and environment, and that you are going to interact positively with your co-workers.
5. Avoid Giving Generic Answers:
Today’s employers want to see some originality in the answers provided to them by interviewees. On questions like, “What are your weaknesses?” Every employer expects that you are going to offer an answer that will portray you as an over-achiever such as, “I am a workaholic,” or “I am a perfectionist.” Surprise the hiring manager with a novel response, and you just may get them on your side.
6. Be Honest:
In general, people can tell when you are not being sincere with them, and that includes the hiring manager that’s interviewing you. Most employers want to start a hiring relationship with their new hires, based upon trust. Make sure that you answers are factual. If you feel that by answering truthfully, you may be hurting your chances of getting hired, offer information to support your answers; whether or not the employer requests such information. Most employers are appreciative when your answers are candid, than when you lie about or hide material fact from them.
7. Be Business minded:
Show that you understand that an employment relationship is a business relationship by demonstrating how you can add value to the organization. Many interviewees come with the “what’s in it for me attitude” forgetting that the employer wants to fill an open position, not because they want to do you a favor, but because they have demands that need to be met. Show the employer how you can fulfill their needs and you’d probably get the job offer.
8. Ask Questions:
There has to be something that shows that you are truly interested in the position you are interviewing for, other than showing up in your best grey suit. The employer wants to see your interest in the key aspects of the position, such as details about the job, why the position is available, details about the management and the organization, team structure and so on. Come with pre-written questions, but listen carefully to the employer as they talk about the position and you will surely come up with more questions. You should ask questions as they pop up or after the employer is done talking and indicates that they are ready to answer your questions.
9. Follow-up Appropriately – But, Do Not Stalk!
A timely thank-you note is expected by your interviewer. Here, a card or an email message is acceptable. The hiring manager also expects you to follow-up on the status of your interview; this is typically interpreted as a show of interest. On the other hand, the employer does not expect you to call them every day or email them at every opportunity you get. Doing so soon can easily be construed as stalking; employers hate to be stalked!!!