Thursday, November 02, 2006

Who Else Wants a Higher Paying Job? 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Ace the Interview!

You have your polished resume. Your credentials are superb. Your talents fit the job description like a cozy glove. What can go wrong?

Almost everything.

We all make errors. Nevertheless, what will set you head and shoulders above your competition is recognizing the blunders... and preparing ahead of time. Here are 10 sure-fire ways to ace your dream job.

1. Appearance:

Most people dress from the "waist-up". They have the perfect oxford button-down shirt, the perfect silk tie from Saks Fifth Avenue, and the blazer is razor sharp. However, they forget to polish their shoes to a mirror shine and iron the wrinkles out of their pants! Make sure your belt and socks match the color of your shoes, i.e., black shoes, black socks, black belt. This tells your interviewer that you pay attention to detail. Many times, I have observed interviewers look at my shoes when greeting me. Make sure they are always, always polished.

Research how you can better your appearance. Small things like clean manicured nails make all the difference in the world.

2. Don't Be Arrogant:

Ask any woman what turns her off the quickest during a date. Most will say that arrogance is a huge turn off. In an interview, the same principal applies. You may be the best candidate they have. If you come across as a insufferable snob, you will lose. To an interviewer, arrogance says, "I am a good talker but I cannot deliver what you need." Confidence, though, will tell the same interviewer that you have what it takes to do the job time after time. Confidence projects the ability to be a team player.

Learn the fine line between arrogance and confidence. Apply it to your everyday dealing and it will open treasured doors for you.

3. Don't Overemphasize Your Skill Set:

We have worked hard to educate ourselves. We have the pedigrees to prove it. And we want to showcase them in the interview. That is a fatal mistake. What interviewers want to know is what can you do for the company?

Learn to interweave your skill set with the company's needs. That way you come across as someone who is interested in adding to the company's success. You do not want to come across as someone who only wants to be a selfish superstar homerun hitter.

4. Be Prepared:

With all the information available on the Internet, there is not one solid reason you should be unprepared for the interview. This means you need to do in-depth research about the company. Passing knowledge of the company tells the interviewer you are not really interested in the job. Ok, that may be untrue. One thing is feeling excited about the job prospect. It is totally another issue to show it.

I had an interview once and I was going blind. I did not know anything about my interviewers. However, I did my in-depth research including the previous day’s stock closing. When I took this paper out of my attache case, an older gentleman reached over, took it into his hands and started reading. He started smiling wide.
He was the owner of the company.

Guess who got the job?

Do your research.

5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Interviewers LOVE to ask open ended questions. And we give them short answers. Bad form! Interviewers want to know how well you can communicate with other people. If you can shine in your
verbal skills while under pressure, they will see that you will be an asset to the team in everyday dealings with other high profile VIPs and your co-workers. People who do not communicate have a rough time in a team setting.

And no one wants to work with a crab.

6. Show Interest:

What is the toughest question in any interview? You got it.

"Do you have any questions?"

If you say no, you will show lack of interest. Think about it. When you go on a date, do you ask questions about your date? Sure you do. Why? Because you are interested. But if you show lack of interest by not asking questions, I can assure you will not have a second date.

People love talking about themselves, about their jobs and their talents. This is especially true when the interview has a high profile position within the company. Take full advantage of that. Make them spend time telling you about themselves. They will forget about the candidate sitting outside. You take that time away from your competition. You will, in your interviewer's eyes, look like the greatest conversationalist on the planet. And all you did was show interest.

Ask about the company's industry, competitors or business problems facing the firm at the moment. And watch them open up to you like long lost friends.

If you and I were competing for the same position, this is the exact point where I would
cut your throat. This is about me getting the job, not you. Understood? Good.

7. Do Not Ask About Perks

This is simple. Stay away from "what is in it for me" questions. You want to give the sincere impression that you are there for the company and not the company for you. Let the interviewer tell you about the perks and benefits.

8. Be Formal

Treat an interview like a business meeting. Business is business. It is formal and serious. Business is about making money. And money talks. This is not the time to be casual and juggle bananas like a circus monkey. The interview wants to know if you have what it takes to make the company money. Even in comedy, it is said that "comedy is a serious business".

9. Focus on the Positive:

The interview is not a therapy session. You ought to have a shining positive effect on your interviewers. Talk about what you learned in your previous position. Talk about your team and bosses in a good light. It shows the interviewer that no matter what happens, you will not bad mouth them or the company. And they will remember you fondly.

10. Close the Deal

Tell the interviewer how much you would love join the company. Ask what the next step in the interview process will entail? Sell yourself. Show interest and plant a subconscious seed in the interviewer's mind that you believe you are the person for the job.

If you forget to do this, they will forget you.

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