Once upon a time, 80% of success was just showing up. When it comes to landing a job in today’s economy, that formula is no longer valid.
Want to know what everyone wishes they coulda, shoulda known before their first job interview? Don’t leave home without knowing these eight surefire interview self-help tips for successful interviews:
1) THE FIRST 90 SECONDS. First impressions count and so should you. Research confirms that 33% of hiring managers know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether or not an applicant is a good fit.
2) THE 3 “R”s. Research, research and research. Not knowing enough about the company is one of the most common mistakes made by job applicants and it’s an error that most hiring managers won’t tolerate. Before your interview, make sure you review the company’s website as well as its Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin pages. Google the company to check out latest news releases so that you have a firm understanding of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, competitive advantage and its competition.
3) THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE. It’s possible to say EVERYTHING right in an interview – and still bomb the interview. (REALLY!) Hiring managers are trained to silently observe certain non-verbal cues during your interview. Playing with your hair, fidgeting, and touching your face too frequently are three important non-verbal actions that are turnoffs to interviewers. Failure to make eye contact (the most common nonverbal mistake), not smiling enough, crossing your arms, tapping your feet and using too many hand gestures will also take valuable points away from your interview performance. Hiring managers are seeking confident and enthusiastic job applicants. It’s very important that your posture is good and your handshake is strong so that you are able to silently communicate that you are the right person for this job.
4) MIRROR, MIRROR. What do hiring managers really see when they first meet you? The way you dress and the air of confidence and enthusiasm that you project when you walk through the door is extremely important. The quality of your voice and your grammar also helps contribute to the hiring manager’s overall impression of you.
5) THE RIGHT ANSWERS. Here are the most common “difficult” questions that are asked in job interviews:
Although there are no “right” answers to all of these questions, it’s important that you know how you will be replying to these questions prior to your interview. Rehearse for your interview by reciting the answers to these questions out loud. Practice the answers over and over again until you feel comfortable with the material. The more you practice, the better you will interview. Never say anything negative about your previous bosses or jobs.
6) QUESTIONS. Come to the interview prepared to ask questions. At the end of the interview, when the hiring manager asks for questions, it’s important to ask intelligent questions that show that you have done your homework and researched the company.
7) DRESS FOR SUCCESS. The importance of selecting an outfit for an interview can not be overlooked. In fact, research has shown that when two candidates have similar qualifications for a job, the candidate’s outfit could be a deciding factor between the two almost-identical candidates. Remember that it’s important to avoid bright colors and dress conservatively. Minimal makeup, fragrance and jewelry is preferred.
8) ASK FOR THE JOB. Research shows that the number one mistake job candidates make in an interview is failing to ask for the job. When the interview ends, make sure you let the hiring manager know that you’re very interested in the position. Ask about the next steps. Your objective is to “close the sale” and leave the recruiter with the no-doubt message that you are the best candidate for the job and that you’re available begin work whenever they need you. Follow the interview up with a prompt thank you note so that the hiring manager knows that you are responsible, dependable and want the job.