In this challenging economy, everyone needs to be in top form to land the dream job. With a new crop of graduates seeking employment, there’s a whole lot of interviewing going on! That means setting yourself apart and also avoiding the deal breakers.
You may not realize this, but the first 30 seconds of a job interview will make or break your chances! No, I’m not joking. They may not get you the offer, but they will certainly kill your chances if you don’t make a strong first impression. The reason is that your interviews are brief and it’s simply too difficult to overcome a rocky start.
Employer surveys routinely identify “likeability” as one of the most important selection factors among similarly qualified candidates. In most job searches, there are any number of eligible applicants, but employers will not hire someone unless they think they would enjoy working with them. Think of it as a “next door neighbor” test. Can they see you as their next door neighbor? You’d better hope so!
When it comes to likeability, just be friendly, positive, enthusiastic, humble, relaxed, and yourself. Be professional in your appearance and in your grammar. Finally, avoid arrogance and negativity at all costs.
Your odds of landing the job just improved…a lot! Oh, and one more thing—if you’re a nervous wreck before the interview, cough! It’s much more therapeutic than a deep breath. Seriously!
Here are some other strategies you can use to put your best foot forward and land the job:
1. Do some research ahead of time on the company, what it does, any current news items about it, its reputation, its products, etc.
2. Practice an interview with a friend or family member to help you be thoroughly prepared. Use a list of common interview questions (insert link) and best answers.
3. Arrive early for your interview.
4. TURN OFF your cell phone!
5. Greet your interviewer with good eye contact, a warm smile, and a firm, confident hand shake.
6. Have some thoughtful questions of your own to ask during the interview (and it shouldn’t be about how much time off you can get!). Demonstrate that you care about the company, not just yourself.
7. At the end of the interview, thank your interviewer and follow up later with a personal thank you note.
Have you practiced your interviewing skills? What kind of impression do you think you make on others who don’t know you well and are evaluating as a possible new hire? How would they rate you on the likeability scale? Leave your comments here; we’d love to hear from you!