By: William R. Eckert III
The interview process can be viewed as a way for potential employers to find a "good fit" for their open positions. Every interviewer has the needs of the company in mind when the process begins. They look for people who resemble most closely those who have been successful in the past in that same or similar position. How can you get an edge in this process ? Believe it or not, it is not as difficult as you might imagine. There are four basic guidelines to follow.
1) Look the Part. You can never underestimate the importance of a good first impression.While most skilled interviewers look beyond a candidate's appearance, inappropriate dress will prove to be a definite "turn off". Take care to dress as if you were reporting to work on the first day. Professional jobs require a coat and tie or dress suit for the interview. A computer programmer or technician can get away with more casual look. Jeans and tee shirts are never acceptable interview clothes.
2) Be Customer Friendly. Most businesses now are driven by a combination of technical expertise and customer services. A person who can rebuild a customer's computer from scratch, but who angers the customer with careless comments or an uncaring attitude will make a poor employee. Any business without a base of return customers will soon be out of business.
3) Do Some Research. It's amazing what you can learn from a quick survey of the company's website. When you bring up some company information during the interview it will impress the interviewer and indicate your interest in the job. It shows that you are a person with initiative, and willing to do your homework. One note of caution though. Mention only positive company information. A comment like "I saw third quarter profits were up" goes across much better than "I see the Feds are taking you guys to court".
4) Finally, Be Honest. A recent survey indicated that over 60% of all job applicants "fudge" their resumes (and applications) in some way. Some applicants misstate the amount of education, other inflate their salaries. Many people fail to properly disclose past negative job experiences. Most employers do some level of pre-employment investigation nowadays. If a misrepresentation is found it may cost you the job altogether. At the very least it may call your ethics into question; and that's not a great way to start a new business relationship.
By following these few simple concepts you will see that your interviews will become more positive. The more interviews you participate in, the better you do, your confidence grows, and the good jobs come your way.
William Eckert, Ph.D. and Virginia Ramirez Eckert are the directors of The Windsor Group, an ethics-based human resources consulting firm, specializing in small-medium business enterprises and non-profit organizations. Bill writes on employment related subjects and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.windsorgroup.org/.
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