Your interviewer has an important task to complete within a limited time frame. So when he or she makes a hiring decision, only one part of this decision will be based on pure numbers and measurable data. The rest will be based on instinct, gut feelings, and the lessons of past experience. In other words, when you’re trying to impress an employer, your resume will only take you so far. To cover the remaining distance, you’ll need to generate an intangible sense of reliability and likeability. You’ll need to make the interviewer feel interested in you and excited about the idea of working with you. Here are a few small moves that can make a big difference.
Interest is a two-way street.
To spark another person’s interest in you, show interest in them. In this case, you’ll need to demonstrate genuine curiosity about the job and the company and express real—not fake—engagement with every word your interviewer says. Keep your eyes focused and your ears open. Don’t treat the interview like a pop quiz or a grilling session. Treat it like a fascinating conversation.
There’s a fine line between interest and desperation. Keep in mind that you’ll hold more cards if your interviewer knows you have other options, and your cover will be blown if you’re ready to perform like a circus dog in exchange for a bit of approval. When you speak, speak calmly and quietly. When you sit in a chair, occupy the entire chair, don’t perch at the edge. When you’re asked a question, think and remain silent for two full seconds before you speak. Your interviewer will wait.
If you don’t know something, that’s okay.
Don’t bluster and sputter. If you’re asked a fact-based question and you don’t know the answer, just say so. Don’t apologize, just state your truth and move on. On the other hand, if you’re asked to solve a problem or think through something, give the answer an honest and reflective effort before you hand the floor back to your interviewer.
Wear a standard, pressed interview suit if you choose, but if you’d like to go the extra mile, put some thought into your outfit and dress in a way that matches what you know about this company and its culture. For a more relaxed organization, skip the suit and opt for pressed khaki slacks and a buttoned shirt or a skirt-blouse-cardigan combo.
Honesty during a job interview is refreshing, memorable, and rare. If you were fired from a past position, just say so and explain why. Describe what you learned from the experience and express an interest in putting the episode behind you.
For more on how to leave a lasting impression during your interview, reach out to the Cleveland County staffing professionals at PSU.