The Interview – Selling Your Experience
It’s Showtime! You are on stage – Act like it!
Everything may depend on the first 5-10 minutes of this face-to-face dialogue!
Many job opportunities are won, or lost, in the first ten minutes of the personal interview; the time in which you are sized up for qualities that normally do not surface in a resume. Everything depends on the thoroughness of your preparation and how intelligently you go about selling yourself to the prospective employer. When you are preparing and practicing the answers to the questions covered in interview preparation, it is critical that the following points are adequately covered:
1. That your background, skills and education are well suited for the job;
2. Your personality and intelligence can make a positive contribution to the company;
3. Your employment will generate profits for the company by making and saving them money;
4. You have a sincere interest in the job and company.
It is a big order to fill within the typical time limitations of the normal interview. You do not have a lot of time for idle and/or personal conversation. No matter what level of position you are after, or how easily you articulate, you will be wise to be prepared for what could be the most important hour of your life.
First impressions are lasting impressions. You can only make a good first impression one time. In other words, you are being judged and graded from the moment you walk through the Company’s front doors. The employer knows that you are coming and he or she is monitoring your every move. Although the interviewer may not physically be able to see you, you can be sure that the front desk receptionist will be quizzed about any unusual characteristics you may have demonstrated while completing the company’s application form and/or waiting for the interviewer.
Do not carry a brief case or large purse into the interview. A professional folder / binder with a legal tablet, your resume, transcript and few certificates or documented evidence of your past successes is all you need.
Leave your beeper or cell phone in your car. Never take it into an interview for any reason!
Take your car key off the key ring and put it in your pocket. Avoid taking a bulky ring of keys into the interview.
Make sure that you have two forms of identification
Do you have a quality black or blue pen? A spare is recommended.
Do you know what today’s date is, or, did you have to ask the front desk receptionist?
Did you arrive to your interview exactly 15 minutes before the scheduled time? (Do not arrive any earlier, and, do not arrive any later).
Make sure that you fill out every line of the company’s application form. Do not put “please see resume.”
While in the reception area, waiting for the interviewer, do not read magazines. You are not there to be entertained. Instead, open your eyes and become aware of the environment that you claim you want to work. Rehearse your questions, visualize how your interview is going, pay attention to the office décor (it may give you some insight as to how things are done around there), and look like you are genuinely excited to be there.
Be prepared to jump up and firmly shake hands with the employer when he/she enters the room. And, make sure that you know how to pronounce his or her last name.
Selling you Experience
No matter how good you are, or how great the demand for your type of experience, you must SELL your assets to the prospective employer. You must approach each interview with a limited objective……..not to get a job (you may not want it), but instead, to get a job offer. You can always turn down a job offer, but it’s impossible to turn down something that is not offered. Always go for the job offer with everything that you’ve got! Don’t decide early in the interview that you don’t want to work for this company based on the appearance of their building, or the first impression you get. You could be letting your guard down and possibly risk missing an attractive opportunity that was not immediately obvious. Rather, decide in advance that you want to make the opportunity to make the final decision on whether to ultimately accept or reject this job. However, in order for you to make that decision, you must first get an offer!
Since offers are extended to those candidates who appear most qualified, you must emphasize your strong points and minimize your weaker points. If your experience is limited, emphasize your education, interests, desire to learn and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. If your experience does not directly fit the job, stress any related hobbies, interests or applicable non-paid experience that you might have had.
Be concise, but give all the highlights that relate to the job you are seeking. Avoid giving “yes” or “no” answers, and illustrate with examples when possible. Instead of just saying “yes, I’m an effective Manager”, add, “I helped organize our local corporate public relations and civic awareness committee which has been extremely instrumental in increasing public awareness of our company’s services.” Or, instead of saying, “I’m a successful salesperson,” say, “I placed second among 25 other sales representatives in our region based on increased revenue generated from new business last year.” Don’t hesitate to point out the positive aspects of your experiences, but do make sure that you statements are absolutely true and correct. Broad generalizations and exaggerations will minimize your chances for an offer.
Finally, be clear on dates of employment, giving both months and years worked, names of supervisors and companies, exact titles of positions you have held, and actual income earned. Remember, you may have to verify all of this data, so make sure that it is accurate.
If you have a resume, plan on rewriting it. Since the immediate impression that a resume makes on a potential employer is a critically important one, dmDickason Executive Search recommends that you follow the prescribed format provided in Resume Writing Tips
Negative Factors evaluated by an Interviewer
During the course of the interview, the interviewer will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive ones. Listed below are negative factors frequently evaluated during the course of the interview, and which most often lead to rejecting you as a candidate.
1. Poor personal appearance and/or grooming.
2. Limp, fishy handshake.
3. Lack of interview preparation. See Interview preparation. Failure to obtain & study information about the company, its’ products or services, the Interviewer, etc. No pen.
4. Did not fill out job application properly. Misspelled words.
5. Lack of enthusiasm and/or interest. Passive and indifferent.
6. Lack of confidence and poise – overly nervous.
7. Failure to look the interviewer in the eyes.
8. Bringing a cell phone into the interview - Leave it in the car!
9. Overemphasis on what the company can do for you rather than what you can do for the company.
10. Condemnation of past employers. Never bad-mouth your past employer(s)!
11. Failure to ask questions about the job.
12. Looking at your watch.
13. Conceited, superiority complex, big ego, over-aggressiveness.
14. Inability to express thought clearly, poor poise, diction or grammar.
15. Makes excuses for unfavorable history in work record – evasive.
Closing the Interview
If you are interested in the position, ask for the job! Ask for the next interview if appropriate. If the job is offered to you, and you want it, accept it on the spot. If you want time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for time to think it over. Be sure to give the interviewer an exact date and time that you will respond with your answer. If you decide you do not want the job, do not turn it down without first discussing your thoughts with your dmDickason recruiter.
Do not become discouraged if an offer is not made. The interviewer probably needs to first communicate with others in the company, or other candidates may have to be interviewed. Again, if you are interested in the position, you must immediately acknowledge the interview with a brief business letter. Click on Follow up after the Interview.
For more information on preparing for your interview, please click on one of the helpful links below: