“Boring, dull, bland, quiet, crazy, loud, rambling, and just a bit strange.”
If you’ve ever been in a hiring role, you’ve probably found yourself muttering at least one of the above words immediately following an interview! Over the years I have had the opportunity to interview many candidates. I have observed outlandish make-up, twitches, spacey stare-offs, red faces, odd-ball body noises — and atrocious attire. A woman once took a call from her mother on her cell phone smack in the middle of an interview.
Truth is, there are very distinct behaviors that job-seekers do that ruin their chances, regardless if their resume glows or shoots out fireworks. Of course there are a lot of great tips out there, but they don’t hit home enough! Most articles ignore some of the most vital parts of the process.
If you are looking for a job today – in this pathetic market, please take note – every detail matters.
Phone screens – Each day you respond to online job ads sending out several resumes a day. The phone rings and you are hoping it’s one of them, calling you to interview on the phone. Never-ever answer this call! Let it go to voicemail, you need a few minutes to prepare and gather information. I have made these initial calls to applicants and they answer their phone confused and disheveled, as if to say “who are you?”. So don’t make this mistake! Take the time to gather up your thoughts and your info — have the company website up and the job description front and center. You are now prepared to call back with your best foot forward.
In-person interviews – If they call you back and set up an interview you must prepare to win them over. Your expertise, education, creativity, and pulsating personality can help achieve this. You might want to underline “personality” as flawless performances put you at the top of the “awesome” list or “bring back” pile.
Remember, your resume and phone screen got you there––
who you are will help you to stay there.
Interview experts say decisions about YOU are made in a matter of seconds. The meter kicks in with your appearance, first and foremost. Aim to win the team over with your look. You must dress your best, especially in a professional environment.
Women: Wear a suit — pants/jacket / pants/skirt — or jacket over a conservative dress (you get the gist).
Don’t wear a suit that makes you look masculine. Add touches of creativity, and/or femininity, i.e., colorful scarf tucked inside the lapel, or a single piece of jewelry. Your bag (purse) should rock and not scream bling-bling. Choose one that is tailored, conservative, perhaps expensive looking — if possible. No wild colors to incite a riot!
Ladies should never-ever wear low-cut clothing or a short dress or skirt without nylons. Remember, this isn’t the club — never wear stilettos.
For the guys — dark suit and shoes that match is a must. Make sure your shirt is clean, sharp and current. No dated clothing!
Next –– always turn off the phone! Never-ever fiddle around with your iPhone, iPad, or computer of any kind – it does not make you look cool or important. Have a padfolio with you, a nice leather booklet thingy with paper inside where you can write and take notes.
Personality style – Now that your look and style is nailed down, your
personality is what’s really going to matter when interviewing in-person. Hiring managers expect your best foot forward. Be the first to put your hand out for a shake — on the way in and out. Keep a smile on your face and stay TUNED IN to the interviewer. If you have a tendency to drift, come back and stay connected. Listen to all that he/she says, and respond when you can. Never-ever interrupt and give creative examples of how you would be a great fit for the job and company. Be lively, friendly, make eye-contact and TAKE NOTES. Have questions ready to go! Never stare off, try to ignore outside noises.
Finally, close with tight, relevant questions and ask what the next steps are. Leave with them reflecting on your manners, your appearance, your originality and your sparkling personality. Good luck with your job search.