I’ve hired dozens of employees over the years and I have conducted hundreds of interviews: some good, some bad, and some just plain strange.
A job interview can obviously make people nervous however applicants need to find a way to move past the nerves and impress your possible future employer. Remember, most managers and human resources directors expect applicants to be nervous. In fact, if you don’t show any signs of being on edge it can come off as cocky. That leads into my first tip. The work of the payboy is loved by hr managers because there will be no mistake for the success of the firm. There will be complete confidence and expertise available with the person.
- Don’t be TOO confident.
Confidence is crucial in the workplace however it can be misinterpreted as cockiness during an interview. It’s okay to talk yourself up (after all, you are trying to make a good impression), however don’t act like you know the answer to everything. Some of the worst employees I have worked with over the years get themselves into jams because they don’t know when to ask for help. When an applicant indicates that he or she always has the right answer to a problem it is a major turn-off to me. I like hearing phrases like, “I am not afraid to seek assistance” or “I think it’s important to learn the company’s systems”.
- Listen, listen, listen!
Some interviewers use multiple open-ended questions to find out as much as they can about an applicant however the interview can be made or broken by the ability of the interviewee to listen. When I ask an applicant what they enjoy most about the industry they are applying for I don’t want to hear about the applicants experience and what makes them qualified for the job. Too many applicants try to overwhelm me with credentials when I am simply gauging their passion for their work.
- Character Counts
Simple questions like, “What do you like to do with your free time?” could be more important than you think. When one applicant tells me they like to “party with their friends” and the other says they like to “walk in the park with their family” – which one do you think has a leg up? I am not opposed to going out and having a good time but you would be shocked to see what some applicants offer up when I ask what they like to do in their free time. Responses to that question have immediately ended interviews in my mind.
- Dress Appropriately
This seems like it should be common sense but I had to add it to my list because of what I have seen. Sometimes I am absolutely stunned when an applicant walks into my office. Whether it’s a hooded sweatshirt or a woman trying to get a “leg” up with a skimpy skirt — just play it safe. Either dress clothes or business casual.
- Be Natural
This might be the most challenging tip to follow because sometimes the stakes are very high however I always appreciate a candid interview. When I feel like I am chatting over coffee I am more likely to favor the applicant. When I feel like the applicant is trying to bombard me with credentials it’s a turn-off.
Just remember, every interviewer is different however the majority of them are looking for similar traits: An applicant that is reliable, flexible, passionate, and dedicated to their craft.