Congratulations, you landed a job interview! But wait—what if you get lost and can’t find the building on the morning of your interview? What if the elevator breaks on the way to the office and you are late? What if you’re so nervous you knock a glass of water into your interviewer’s lap?
Instead of stressing about what could go wrong, focus on the things in your control. Wear appropriate, professional, clean and ironed clothes. Make sure your resume is well-written (no typos!) and printed on quality paper. And think about what you want to share during your interview.
Make sure you are prepared to share information about yourself that illustrates how you are the best person for the job. In addition to talking about the experience and skills you have, you should also talk about personal characteristics that show you will be a great employee.
Here are the top 5 traits hiring managers look for when they interview. Regardless of whether you are interviewing for an engineering position or a dog-grooming job, if you demonstrate these 5 traits you’ll have a great chance of getting the job.
You do not need to share a lengthy list of hobbies and interests, but it is good to mention a few that are pertinent to the job. For instance, if you are interviewing for a job that requires a lot of customer relations, it would be smart to mention volunteer work to show that you interact with people on a regular basis. Or, if you have knowledge of a trade or achievements in some non-related industry, share those if they are applicable to the job.
Why? Employers love people who can problem solve and enjoy learning and trying new things. Employers want to know you have the capacity and drive to learn. Will you see knowledge gaps as a challenge, or something to ignore? Not to mention the more interested you are in learning and trying new things, the more likely they will look to you the next time they have a special project that needs an active force behind it.
Bosses do not want to micromanage their employees, and employees don’t want to be micromanaged. Employees want to be trusted to do their work and the jobs assigned to them. Unfortunately, not everyone can be left alone. Some employees need constant monitoring to be productive.
To show that you can work independently and without direct supervision all the time, highlight the times you accomplished a great deal without being asked to do so. In your interview and on your resume, share (without sounding arrogant) all the projects that you excelled in without direct supervision.
Have you ever heard the saying “fake it ‘til you make it?” When you’re looking for a new job, act like you know what you’re talking about (or better yet, actually know what you’re talking about).
Interviewers can usually read a job candidate within the first thirty seconds of meeting them. If you act timid, walk with hunched shoulders, and speak softly, and the interviewer will mentally dock you points before you open up your mouth.
How do you prepare for an interview so you have confidence when you walk through the door? Read the company history so that you know what to expect. Understand the job you are interviewing for. Most importantly, come to the interview with questions of your own. Nothing says confidence like someone who demonstrates they are a fit for the job before they even start.
No, you should not be the living version of Tigger the Tiger from Winnie the Pooh. However, you should not be stiff as a board and as uninteresting as a goldfish. There is a happy medium between those two points, and it is up to you to find it.
A person with exceptionally high-energy can be off-putting, especially if it is perceived as being forced or insincere. However, a candidate who is enthusiastic about the opportunity and talks about all the things they are looking forward to doing speaks volumes to the interviewer.
Body language and listening are two of the most crucial elements to this process. Try to show through your body language that you are comfortable and confident in yourself. For example, don’t fidget with your papers the whole time, and don’t lounge like you’re watching TV on the couch. Be alert and show you have the energy for the job. Convey through your mannerisms how interested you are in the position, and respond thoughtfully to the questions. A lively and energetic dialogue will communicate that you are not only interested in the job, but that you will be a pleasant person to work with as well.
Remember, they won’t be interested in you unless you are interested in them.
The workplace may be a fun environment at times, but remember, an office is a place of business. Communicate that when you walk into the interview by dressing appropriately for the occasion, looking presentable, and greeting the interviewers politely and professionally. This could be through good eye contact and a firm handshake, or, if you are not able to do those things due to your disability, through the words you use in your greeting, such as “Hello, I am very pleased to meet you today.” Job offers are sometimes secured or lost in the first minute of the interview, so it is important that your first impression is a positive one.
Be considerate of the employers’ time as well. Show up on time, come prepared with all necessary paperwork, and be polite.
Do not be afraid to be yourself, but try to check the colloquialisms and slang at the door. Speak slowly and clearly, and no matter what, do not curse (you would be surprised how often it happens).
Do not forget to follow-up either. Employers do not want to be harassed by an overzealous job candidate, but a post-interview thank you email or card can go a long way. Maybe they have been debating between you and a few other candidates, then your thank you note slides across their desk. What does that say about you? Employers love employees who are grateful to be employed.
Interviews do not have to be a scary and intimidating time. Keeping the points shared above in mind can ensure you have a pleasant experience, as well as give you the best possible chance at success.
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