Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

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We have heard the reports about the current state of employment as well as the fact that it is so hard to find a job due to competition. In reading about these things, I find myself reflecting and thinking about the countless number of interviews that I've conducted. I can recall an instance where a candidate failed to comb her hair after removing the curlers when she showed up to tell us that she was the best person for the role. Then there is the instance where a candidate showed up to the interview, professional in appearance, but failed to demonstrate his ability to do the job-even though his resume assured us that he could! These things really do happen, but it is my hope that after reading this, you will be more prepared for your next interview. The reality is simply this: if you have been contacted for an interview, someone in the company feels that you are capable of doing the job that you have applied for. The assignment for you is to convince those who are conducting the interview that you are the absolute best candidate for the job. Here are 5 tips that will help you stand above the competition during an interview:

1. Research the company that you are planning to work for. If you are an external hire, it is in your best interest to find out the strengths as well as current challenges the company is facing. Asking a few questions about the company allows you to make a decision about the company that you plan on working for. You are being interviewed, but there are some questions that you should ask, beyond salary, prior to accepting a new position.

2. Research the position that you are applying for. Regardless of whether or not you are applying for a role internally or externally, you would want to know certain things such as: Is this a new position or is it an existing position? What does a typical day in this role entail?

3. Selling yourself is imperative. As I'd mentioned earlier, you are almost there if you have landed an interview. Go in prepared and confident. Have strong examples that demonstrate your ability to perform in the role and don't forget to bring in awards, recognition, etc that show the interviewer(s) that you are the best candidate for the role.

4. Be professional in appearance. Choose a conservative style of dress because first impressions are important. I haven't ever met a hiring manager who didn't want the best employees. I haven't seen a leader send his/her "average" direct report to a meeting to represent him/her in a meeting. Your absolute best is always the expectation and you should have that as a personal expectation for yourself.

5. Preparing is the foundation for your overall interview success. When you prepare, you feel confident. When you prepare, you are organized. Your communication reflects that organization in your responses to the questions asked. Your professional appearance says that you are prepared, not only for the interview, but also for the role that you are applying for.


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