Interviews can be stressful, especially if you’ve gone through a number of them with nothing to show for the time spent.
We can all be quick to place blame on the “other” party, but more often than not the reason someone has endured a significant number of interviews without a positive response lies with the interviewee – not the interviewer.
If this is happening to you, it’s time to take a closer look at the first impression you’re making:
- Are you wearing a Mickey Mouse tie or other “cutesy” attire?
- Are you wearing properly fitting clothes that are appropriate for your body type?
- Are you smoking before the interview?
- If you have a beard or moustache, is it clean and neatly trimmed?
- Does your perfume announce your arrival even before you enter the office?
- Do you talk too much and listen too little?
- Do you come across as arrogant, superficial or desperate?
- Do you follow up way too much?
If you answered yes to anything on this list, you may be your own worst enemy when it comes to interviewing.
Personal quirks aside, an employer wants to know that they will be able to put you in front of the customers. For that reason, each interview you go on should be viewed as a sale—with you as the product. If you cannot sell yourself to a potential employer, how will you be able to sell to their customers?
Whether you are being interviewed over the phone or face to face, the interviewer is trying to decide if you will do the right thing with a customer. That is why it is important to convey that you are a trustworthy professional who will treat their clients with dignity and respect.
Dress neatly and professionally. Skip the perfume and lay off the cigarettes until after the interview.
Don’t over-embellish your qualifications and positive traits. Always respond to questions with honest answers. This may mean that your answer is only a sentence or two instead of a long-winded conversation, and that’s okay.
Let the interviewer speak and take the time to listen to what they are saying before responding. Don’t be afraid of silence during an interview. There are many reasons for it—one of which may be that the interviewer is jotting down positive notes about you.
The key is to make sure you’re not giving the interviewer any reason to eliminate you from consideration before you’ve had a chance to demonstrate the value you will bring to the organization.
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