Everybody knows that we are now in a recessionary economy. The diagnosis doesn't look good for the months ahead, and there may be further job losses in the horizon. It is also an employer's market now and good candidates are more readily available.
Against such a backdrop, it is more crucial than ever to present yourself in a positive light during job interviews. After working so hard to secure it battling with hundreds of other candidates (and it does get this plentiful), the last thing you need is to throw it all away by being ill-prepared.
So what should you look out for?
Dress Right for the Occasion
This is probably the most fundamental rule. If you are interviewing to an actor, actress or DJ, you can afford to come in something more flashy and glitzy. However, if you are trying to work in the area of public communications or marketing, formal attire (shirt and tie for guys, jacket for ladies) would suffice.
Do Your Homework on My Organisation
One of my pet peeves during interviews is having to deal with candidates trying to "smoke" their way through. I always ask them what they know about my organisation, and I am often amazed by the answers that I receive. Of course, those who not only surfed our website but made an effort to visit our institutions would score extra brownie points.
Better Yet.... Find out What's Happening in My World
As a publicist (and an information junkie), I am almost always updated on the news, particular the areas relevant to my work. Similarly, I expect candidates to at least know some of the key developments in my sector. A generic, off-the-cuff answer won't work as I will know if you are bluffing (unless you are that skilful). This also works for other businesses and professions.
Go Beyond Answering My Questions
Another tip is to showcase your knowledge and ideas about the areas of work before I pop the question. Monosyllabic "yes" or "no" answers are a great no-no, and I much prefer to chat with you rather than interrogate you like a hardened criminal. On top of that, surprise me with flashes of brilliance.
Passion, Energy and Hunger Helps
Ever interviewed a candidate who speaks as if he or she hasn't slept for days? Or those who are so shy that they answer your questions with downcast eyes? If you are hungry and enthusiastic about the job opportunity, then show it. Body language also reveal a lot about a person's attitude towards work and suitability for the post. Of course, there are some who are academic award nominees but that's another story altogether....
Go Beyond Speaking Words to Writing Them Down
A major plus point for another candidate keen on a job is to write down their ideas, proposed plans or suggestions for the organisation. Writing engages the mind and heart in a way that speaking doesn't do, and it also shows how serious a candidate is about the job. If you are hardworking prior to the interview, it is more likely that you won't be a slacker once you are in here.
Be Confident but not Overbearing
I like candidates coming to interviews brimming with confidence and knowing exactly what they are in for. It shows in their posture, the way they speak, and the readiness in which they reply your (sometimes) difficult questions. However, don't rattle away like a LOUD machine gun and give me a verbal thesis of your thoughts. Verbal diarrhea isn't really welcome in my books.
Show and Tell Works but Keep It Brief
A good habit amongst candidates is to bring samples of their previous work, filed neatly and run through them with the interviewers. Naturally, this shows a different dimension to one's abilities in a more concrete form. However, do be succinct when doing so and not bore the interviewer to tears when he or she has obviously seen enough.
Read My Body Language
Finally, it is good if you can gauge my level of interest in you and act accordingly. Visible signs of boredom or impatience include me peering down at my handphone, or looking at clock on the wall, or flipping through the interview folders and looking distracted. As time is really not on my side, brevity in speech would be an advantage.
When the going gets tough, it is important to pay special attention to all the little things during job interviews. Your livelihood depends on it, so that extra effort works.
Labels: interviews, jobs, personal branding