A Simple Guide to Leaving a Lasting Impression:
“The Interview”. Just hearing the word makes you nervous (and you’re right to be). An interview can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in a person’s life. The difference between someone who isn’t completely losing it and someone confident is preparedness and organization.
Taking the time to put some thought into what you’ll wear, do and say makes a world of difference (versus just showing up and hoping for the best). CXC® has a few tips for every stage of the interview process to help get you there:
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW:
1.) Get to know the company (and who you’re meeting).
There really is no excuse in today’s age to not have information pertinent to your interview readily available (hint, hint – the internet). Take the time to research the company you’ll be interviewing for, know who the CEO is and have some facts at the ready for reference. Sometimes, even tools like LinkedIn allow you to view the profiles of hiring managers/recruiters/etc. which can possess some key info and talking points.
2.) Reflect on your resume (and be honest):
If you have gaps in between your past positions, limited education or long term absences from the workforce… You can bet there’s a good chance they’ll be addressed. But there is absolutely no need for panic. The largest mistake candidate make is that they try to hide those details (or blatantly lie about them) rather than elaborate openly and honestly. If you took a sabbatical or left the workforce for familial reasons, simply explain why. The honesty will be refreshing to prospective employers.
*Pro Tip: If you would rather the details about an absence remain private, simply and politely say you took time off to tend to personal matters.
3.) Prepare yourself the right way:
A significant quality your recruiter will look for is the way you communicate and compose yourself. Take the time to practice your responses in a mirror or have a friend or relative give you a mock interview. It’ll be easier to catch subtleties in body language, mispronunciations and key points you may be missing if you review.
DURING THE INTERVIEW:
4.) Body Language & Appearance:
Approximately 80-90% of a message’s meaning lies in its nonverbal aspects. This means that looking your interviewer in the eye, shaking their hand confidently, sitting up straight and maintaining an attentive, relaxed demeanor already puts you a step ahead in the right direction.
With your appearance, it’s a matter of using common sense; try not to wear too much makeup, ease up on the cologne and most importantly, think neat and minimalistic. Take a look at what’s appropriate for the office here.
This may be hard considering another person is dictating the ebb and flow of your conversation, but try your hardest to close out every thought and make valid points. One of best ways to answer most interview questions is through a conflict/resolution model, meaning you provide examples of past experiences where you’ve encountered an issue and what you provided as a solution.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW:
7.) Ask for additional info and follow up:
Should you have any follow-up questions, now would be the time to ask them. Here’s a helpful list of what to ask post-interview.
It may be common sense, but always leave your interview on a kind note. Thank the recruiters for the opportunity to come in and for their time. A great gesture is to send a handwritten note a few days later.
Did you enjoy these tips? Looking for more? The CXC® blog has a variety of resources ready to help you on your next search.
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