Walking into an interview can feel like a taxing ordeal. Some people shudder at the thought of going to a job interview.
If you think about it, it’s hard to sit in front of strangers for a set period of time, sell yourself to them, and convince them why you are the best fit for their organization.
What you say and do in an interview can make or break your chances of landing the job.
But did you know that there are things you can do before you even sit down in the interview, which can give you a leg up in landing the job?
And no, I am not talking about that fancy suit that you just bought, nor the resume that you proof read fifty times and printed on the special hard paper.
The truth is, you have the ability to dictate what a recruiter thinks of you without any of those things!
True story, I once had a candidate walk into the interview for a customer service job with jeans, which most people will tell you is a no-no, and still land the job!
This is just to put into perspective the fact that other factors outside of what you wear, can affect your interview outcome.
From a recruitment standpoint, attire and having an employee wear professionally acceptable clothing is something that can be taught – to any employee. That’s what the dress code is for.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t dress well for an interview, but it is to say that other high level factors that you may not have thought of, can dictate the outcome of your interview, so why not maximize on these things to get you that job of your dreams?!
Truth be told, as a seasoned recruiter of many years, when you actually walk into the interview room, I can attest to the fact that many times I have no formulated opinion of the candidate. None! This works in your favor.
All candidates actually start an interview with a clean slate, and do you want to know a secret? Nine times out of ten, the recruiter is rooting for you.
Before you walk into the room, to the recruiter, you are only a name on a piece of paper, and a bunch of qualifications and work experience.
These qualifications are however worthwhile and valuable, as they have brought you this far in the interview process, but it is the person behind that qualifications that the recruiter wants to know – and that is the person who is going to land the job – or not.
Take your time getting there
On the day of an interview, one of the key points people always remember is to be on time for their interview, this is something that most career coaches teach you. But did you know that showing up too early for your interview can also hinder you?
Recruiters are busy. We screen resumes at lightening speed, and we have fifty billion interviews set up for that day. There is a structure to the day that we often times do not want to disturb.
So always remember that while punctuality is key, you do not want to be too early for the interview as it can throw the recruiter off, and in so doing affect the interview process, if the recruiter is not focused on you, but instead focused on the task that needed to be taken care of prior to your interview.
Being overly early also signals to the recruiter that you are very anxious about the job, and also a bit indifferent to their time.
A good rule of thumb is to be at the interview site one hour prior to the interview, know your way around the building and to you exact interview destination, but only walk in and announce yourself 15 minutes prior to the interview.
This shows the recruiter that you are punctual but not overzealous, and gives them enough time to wrap up whatever they are doing and get to you, as they also want to be considerate of your wait time as well.
Along your way
Next, this is a mistake that I see people make time and time again. Not being friendly to the people or persons you meet PRIOR to meeting recruiter.
People talk, and you would be amazed at how many times people have made a negative impact on the Receptionists, or floor staff that they meet prior to meeting the recruiter.
This feedback sometimes reaches the recruiter’s ears even before you enter the interview.
Once you meet the recruiter, extend your hand in a gesture of a handshake. This is a major ice breaking technique that shows that you are pleased to meet the individual who is about to interview you. It also allows you to break the “barrier”.
Another non-verbal cue that many people miss, which can dictate the tone of an interview is automatically pulling up a chair once in the interview room. WRONG. MOVE. Always wait for the recruiter to gesture, or ask you to be seated.
Remain standing until they do so. This shows the recruiter that you value their word and respect the space that you have entered.
Pen and Paper Rule
Whatever you do, do not walk into an interview with nothing in your hand.
This is automatically a non-verbal signal to the recruiter that you are not prepared, and that you may not have much to contribute throughout the interview.
This means a pen, a piece of paper, and a folder. All three if you can. A simple old pen along with blank pieces of papers shows you are there to learn and take instruction – showcasing how you will be as an employee.
Prior to your interview take notes on the company and it’s history and bring key talking points with you.
That way, you can open your folder and refer to the notes if you cannot remember them from memory.
The presence of the folder shows organization. You are signaling that you keep information contained when it is important and highly valuable.
You are also showing in a non-verbal way that you have the capacity to research relevant information, you are a forward thinker, and willing to keep important information at hand so that it can be shared – you are displaying all the qualities that a recruiter wants to see in a new hire
Remember how your mom always taught you to bring a gift once you get invited to someone’s home? Bring a gift! That’s right.
Your beautiful resume that you took 2 days to prepare? That’s your gift. Walk into the interview room prepared with multiple copies of your resume. Think 5 – 10 depending on the setting.
Be overprepared with copies. It doesn’t matter how many times you have uploaded your resume to the company’s site, or whether you sent a copy to the recuiter the day of the interview via email.
Walk with copies. It shows that you are an individual who is able to anticipate needs, which will translate to an employee who will anticipate needs.
Last, not having your cell phone in your hand prior to the interview.
Yes, I know, we all use it as a watch. But avoid having your cell phone in hand or visible prior to stepping inside of an interview room, and if possible, avoid having it visible while you are waiting to be called into the interview either.
A cell phone is sometimes seen as a social engagement tool. So having it in your hand signals to the recruiter that you may be someone who is more interested n social engagement rather than work.
Also, it is a tell tale sign that you may be an employee who will be often engaged with your phone.
Nine times out of ten, the qualities you display to a recruiter prior to the interview are seen as red flags as to what type of employee you will be.
Be aware and and responsive to the things you do before the interview. These can make or break your ability to get the job.
What are things you do prior to your job interview to help give you a leg up? Tell me in the comments down below.
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