Many people don’t realize that the interview process starts at the moment of initial contact. When you speak to a hiring manager over the phone or stop by to drop off your resume in person, the process has already begun. How do you present yourself? Do you articulate well on the phone? Is your tone positive or do you sound depressed? Nobody wants to work with a Debbie Downer. The employer should get the impression that you are motivated to find work and are actually interested in what they have to offer. How are you dressed when you walk into the office? Even if you are just stopping by to get information, would you consider your attire as interview appropriate? If the employer likes your skill, they may be much more prone to offer an interview or at least take the next step if you come into the office prepared. All of these things speak to your level of professionalism, even if you are not in a formal interview. If your first introduction to an employer is emailing a resume, make sure it has been proof-read and edited for grammar, spelling errors and content. According to some studies, recruiters can take an average of 6 seconds to look at a resume. Will yours stand out? The first thing they will look for is your previous Employers, Job Titles and Dates of Employment. Employer’s want to see that you have applicable experience for the position they have available. Staffing Recruiters have very little time to size up whether or not you will be a good fit for the Client. How you first present yourself can make or break your chances at landing that second interview.
Once you are able to sit down and discuss your skills in an interview setting, keep your answers brief but to the point. Avoid being overly chatty and stick to the details. No matter why a previous job ended you should never speak negatively or bad-mouth a former employer. Make eye-contact and be positive. Avoid certain phrases like, “I just need a job.” It’s a surefire way to not get one. Always be prepared to give specific examples of how you excelled in a job, or how you handled a tough situation. Many employers ask, “Why should I hire you?” You should be able to sell yourself. A manager wants to know what you have to bring that will impact the company’s success. Lastly, we all want to move up and advance in our career. At the same time, you should try to be careful in approaching this subject in an interview. Employer’s like initiative and motivation to excel and advance, but what they do not want is a “ladder-climber.” A ladder-climber is someone who just takes what is available until the next opportunity comes up. This is a great thing if one seeks to take the time to learn the job, excel in the job and move up within the company. On the other hand, an employer can interpret it to mean that the employee is ready to jump ship at the first opportunity at another company that is above their pay grade. Be careful not to give the impression that you’re “just looking to move up.” Advancement is earned.
Whether it is your first interaction or coming in to accept an offer- treat every interaction as if the job depends on it, because it does!