Career Guide Series: Interview Dos
This week, the focus is interviewing. Read on to learn how you can show a potential employer that you're the one for the job.
First thing's first: You must look the part to get the part—whether it's the role of uniformly-dressed team player or brand-sporting sales associate. Below, find a few no-fail dressing tips from Rachel C. Weingarten, careerwear expert and author ofCareer and Corporate Cool: How to Look, Dress, and Act the Part—at Every Stage of Your Career, that will give off the right first impression in this competitive market.
DO:Look sharp.When you walk into an interview, you don't want your potential employer to think you're taking the job opportunity for granted—and if sloppily or lazily dressed, you may send that message. For example, make sure your clothes aren't wrinkled, your shirt is tucked in and your shoes aren't scuffed or very obviously worn. "Your goal is to look professional, and like you care about your appearance."
DO:Let your résumé and your experience speak for itself—don't let your lipstick say more than you do. "I would never tell anyone to fade into the woodwork," Weingarten says, "but I'd tell them to leave their noisy jewelry or flashy stilettos at home." An interview is not the time to be fashion-forward; otherwise, your pretty pumps are all the interviewer will remember.
DO:Tone it Down: The outfit you wear on your interview should be a toned-down version of something you might put together after you've gotten the job. Once you become more comfortable, it's OK to let a little more of yourself shine through in your choice of attire—but in the beginning, it's better to be safe than sorry. Says Weingarten, "You never know what's going to turn your potential employer off."
According toKnock 'em Deadby Martin Yate, EPC, there are a few professional behaviors that employers look for in a potential employee, and it's crucial that interviewees demonstrate these behaviors throughout the interview process. These behaviors include: communication and listening skills, goal orientation, a team spirit, motivation and energy, analytical skills, dedication and reliability, determination, pride and integrity, efficiency, economy and the ability to follow procedures. Be sure to present your professional accomplishments in the framework of these behaviors; here are a few tips to help you prove you've got what it takes:
DO:Avoid bland, uninspired claims: Simple statements don't leave any lasting impression on employers. On the other hand, anecdotes that prove a point do by giving your answers substance and a ring of truth. Yates gives this example: Instead of stating that he was determined, "Harry" told a simple story of his commitment: a weekend work trip to clear his company's warehouse in time to make room for Monday's exceptionally large shipment. This not only showed the employer what he contributed to his last job, but gave him an idea of the type of motivation he'd put forth for his potential place of employment.
DO:Employ a complete set of listening skills: This not only means listening and waiting your turn to speak, it requires understanding what the person speaking to you is saying and responding thoughtfully—which will display a more effective communication ability overall.
DO:Understand that, essentially, everyone is hiring for the same job: At some level in our careers, we all become problem solvers. That said, "Think of your profession or any jobs you've held in terms of problem-identification/avoidance/solution responsibilities," says Yate. Once you've identified what type of problem-solving experience you have, you've already gone a long way toward identifying what the interviewer will want to talk about.
Video: 08 common Interview question and answers - Job Interview Skills
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