“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” ~ Steve ~
Camden Asks: I’m going for my first set of interviews. I know I have the job skills to do the work I’m applying for, but what can I do to present myself well. How can I impress my potential employer?
Joel Answers: Great job for graduating and having valuable job skills. You ask a critical question. Many people with great skills get passed over because they make some serious gaffs in the interview process.
Your employer is going to be working with you for a while, so they want to make sure they can get along with you… and that you can get along well within the company culture. So the overarching message you need to send the potential employer is that, in addition to your work skill sets, you will be a good employee.
What are some ways you can impress this message on them? These ideas work whether you are meeting the employers at a job fair or in an interview.
Research the company before you go.
When you know something about the company you impress the potential employer. Not everyone takes the time to do that. It will help you understand what they are looking for and get a sense of their company culture. You may find the research helps you ask more intelligent questions and allows you to present areas of your background that especially qualify you for the job.
Start with a smile and a good handshake.
Look them in the eye as you smile. Think, I’m happy to be meeting you. Just that thought will make your smile more genuine.Use a firm grip on the handshake. Not crushing, not limp, not sweaty. One or two pumps is a good number. In your enthusiasm, don’t go overboard pumping the handshake.
Ask questions about the company and the job.
Your research will give you good questions to ask and asking questions shows interest. Be sure you take the time to listen to the answers and ask follow up questions. You may want to create a set of questions ahead of time. They might include:
- How does the job I’m looking at support or contribute to the bottom line of the company?
- What qualities would the ideal candidate for this job have?
- What steps would you recommend for getting quickly up to speed?
What you wear matters. This is the “book cover” by which employers judge you. Ideally, your clothing should be similar to that of your potential employer. Your research into the company culture should give you insight into how formal or relaxed they dress. If you come across sloppy or too casual, the interviewer will think your work will reflect those same traits. If you are way overdressed, you may intimidate rather than impress the employer. How you dress is important to a successful job interview.
This is a powerful way to show the qualities you have. Suppose they ask, “How committed are you?” You might say, “I’m very committed to doing the job right. At my last job, my co-worker was out of work due to illness for three months. I picked up the load and carried his work. We completed the job on time and it was a success.” Your story shows how committed you are to your work and the company.
Camden, if you just do these five things, you will WOW your potential employer. They will be impressed by you confidence, your awareness of their company, and your character. They will see you as a good fit for their company. Make sure you have a job search plan that prepares you for success in the interview.
If you want to polish your interviewing skills to present thoroughly impress your potential employer, contact Joel for coaching or advice.