For the unemployed job seeker there are many obstacles. One being, the fact that days spent with a laptop, on couch, and in pajamas don’t exactly translate into a heightened sense of self-esteem.
On the contrary, being out of work can be downright depressing. And when unanswered resumes and failed interviews start becoming the norm, it may feel like your life is trapped under a heavy paperweight. Luckily, there is a solution known as landing a job. How do you do that? Refresh your interview skills by breaking 4 bad habits that are keeping your name off of the payroll.
You Think Practicing is for Chumps
Regardless of how common the initial “So, tell me about yourself” interview question is, it still has the ability to throw people. Why? They don’t practice. Before walking into any interview you should have two sentences about your professional self polished and down cold. Consider yourself your own agent; you need a pitch that is clean, concise and above all, interesting.
In addition to ironing your interview clothes and having your next-day directions ready to go the night before, you should also invite a friend over. In a nonthreatening environment a friend can help you go over the most commonly asked interview questions; don’t stop until you come up with a killer response for each. It’s also a good idea to work out a solid one liner to say at the end of the interview. “Thank you so much for your time; I’m excited about X position and I look forward to the possibility of building a future with your company.”
You Allow Nerves to Get the Best of You
Whether you went to your high school football games or not, there’s no denying that those mandatory pep rallies got you a little pumped. Job interviews are no different; you’ve got to psych yourself up if you’re going to walk in with an enthusiastic and confidant attitude. Consider the alternative, if the interview does not go well you’ll be in the same exact situation; so in actuality, you have nothing to lose and only a job to gain.
For the employer holding yet another black and white resume, they are going to need the right attitude to catch their attention. Weeks or months of unemployment may have you dragging, but a similar attitude will not get you noticed. Have some coffee, listen to your favorite music on the way there and above all, smile. Commit to getting pumped up for just one half hour of your life and find an effective way to pull that energy out of you.
You’ve Zipped Your Lips
Mid-interview are your hands folded? Are you smiling politely? Are you eagerly waiting the next question? Well, you shouldn’t be. Strive to turn the interview into a conversation, where your own input and proactive questions can open your interviewer’s eyes and ears.
Of course you have to listen to an interviewer’s questions and comments, and you should be active in acknowledging or agreeing with them, but then you need to jump off. Build on the topics they present and show off your own skills and unique background. “I understand what you mean about finding someone who can keep up with the busy tasks of this position. When reading the job description it seemed to me that was the big focus. I myself have some experience with that…”
This is the interviewer’s time to get to know you, so don’t let your resume do all of the talking. Instead, use it as a platform for your conversation. If there is one thing you are an expert on, it is yourself. You know your motivations, strengths and weaknesses, so be enthusiastic about sharing the unique qualities that make you a great addition to any team.
You’re Ignoring Culture and Questions
Any job that you try out for has a company history and mission. Do not walk into an interview without knowing those elements like the back of your hand. This way, during the interview you can display your preparedness and invested interest. It is also important to gain an understanding of your potential company’s culture and most important, find an angle in which you can fit yourself into it.
At the end of the interview be ready to fire back when asked, “So do you have any questions?” An employer will be impressed to see that you are already picturing yourself as a position holder with questions like: “How do you hope the next person to fill this position will enhance it? If I were to be selected, what would be the first checkpoint you’d like me to reach? What qualities do you think it takes for a person to excel in your team environment?”
Of course at the end of the interview you are going to shake hands with your interviewer. Be sure to express your earnestness when thanking them for their time. The interview process may be nerve wracking for you, but it can be very tedious for an employer. Make their day by being enthusiastic, interesting and unique. Above all, be memorable and if all goes well, you’ll get a call back.
Know any other interview habits are worth breaking? Drop us a line in the replies or send a Tweet over to @smarterer!
This is a guest post by Kelly Gregorio
Kelly Gregorio writes about topics that affect small businesses and entrepreneurs while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a merchant cash advance provider. You can read her daily business blog at http://www.advantagecapitalfunds.com/blog/.