In the world of job interviews, there are precious few pots of gold to be found at the end of the rainbow. And yet, once you find one pot of gold, there are many ways to actually ensure that you have a higher than average chance of finding another one.
At least that’s how I felt at once I received an opportunity to work for Microsoft. The day I got the phone call offering me a job, I resisted the urge to run around the house screaming like a Madagascarian macaque on three shots of espresso and a rotten banana.
I’d like to think that I’ve been doing this for a while, but the reality is that in the world of job interviews there really is no hard-and-fast rule to ensure that you can get any job you want. But before we all throw ourselves off the nearest cliff, rest assured that there are ways that you can ensure your success, at least in the dreaded job interview.
Based on experience and after several bouts of trial and error, I managed to get a rough sense of what employers are looking for in potential interviewees. Since its interview season, I hope this helps.
The first 5 seconds:
· Walk in a measured pace, confident in your step
· Greet them
· Address them by name
· Thank them for travelling to your location
· Ask them if you may take a seat
· Be courteous and polite.
1) Appear literate and knowledgeable
If you don’t read, you’re already at a disadvantage – especially if you’re looking to get into a more marketing-related role. Read books and follow blogs in your chosen field – pick up quotes, concepts and ideas and show how they relate to the job – but in moderation, you don’t want to come across as a braggart.
2) Research your interviewer
If you know their name, Bing it. If they have a blog, read it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about it in the interview, and at least mention it somewhere in conversation. It demonstrates that you’re tenacious, persistent and have taken the time to do your due diligence.
If they or their team have won awards recently, ask them about what they did to be awarded such accolades. If their workplace has won awards, ask them about its effect on company culture. If the person you’re interviewing is someone prominent and in the news, make sure you research them thoroughly, but avoid bringing up any sensitive or contentious issues in the interview.
3) Research your company
Find up-to-the-minute news concerning the company (even minutes before your interview) and keep yourself informed. Knowledge is power. If you have a smartphone, make sure you check it frequently before the interview to keep yourself informed on the latest developments. Candidates who do this often impress their interviewers because it demonstrates their preparedness and commitment to the company.
4) Exude confidence and polish in your presentation
a. Pause before speaking, take your time. Your presence should be an economy of movement. Watch politicians orate to understand how they use body language to add meaning to their statements.
b. Comb your hair. Shave (if you tend to grow a beard). Cut your fingernails.
c. Wear a tiepin, maybe a kerchief in your *** pocket and that nice watch and cuff links. Make sure your clothes are ironed (especially your collar) and that your shoes are polished.
d. Facial expressions should be guarded and reflect deep thought. Avoid blank, bored stares by exercising your facial muscles to reflect an expression of mild surprise mixed with a knowing glance.
5) Never, ever, use colloquialisms
Employers hate it when you use slang or colloquial tongue – “like”, “er”, “yeah”, “smoked them”, rushed them”, “aced it” – especially ones that the employer doesn’t understand, or doesn’t even moderately relate to. The last thing you want to do is make them feel old.
6) Be bold and be plucky…
…but don’t put the employer on the spot with your questions. Don’t ask mundane or hopelessly granular questions about one of their least-known products to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge. If you sound like a smartass, they’ll reject you right away.
Be mature with your humour and don’t unnecessarily bash competitors to impress your interviewer – overbashing competitors makes you look desperate, obsequious and pandering, and may suggest an inability to be objective in criticism. It also tells them that you are hostage to your emotions – a quality that can just as easily be used against colleagues and coworkers in an unguarded moment. They won’t like the thought.
Let your employers know that you use their products and that you have your own opinions about them. Usually employers like candidates with independent viewpoints, as long as any comments made are well-thought and conveyed respectfully. Respect the seniority of your interviewer. They’re in their position for a reason. Please don’t try to (fecal matter of a bull) them.
That’s all for now. How did I do? I’d be happy if you told me how close to the mark these recommendations were. Remember, if these recommendations don’t work perfectly the first time, keep practicing.