With the job market in a flat recovery and employers spoilt for choice, how can you tilt the scales in your favor and edge into that new position?
Well, with an eye on Strategic Communication, Soft Skills and The Art of Business Seduction, Mark Jeffries offers up ten ideas that will help you get ahead of the competition.
You are on from moment one. You may believe that the interview has not yet begun, (While you sit in reception staring at the obscure awards display case) but you are being observed from the second you walk into their building. With this in mind, ensure that everything you do and say would happily sit well with this new employer.
You know you look good.
Wear your lucky clothes. Sounds silly, but you know which outfit just makes you ‘feel’ better! Wear it. When you feel good, you exude confidence and people read that quality and want in!
Look how professional I am.
When asked what happened with the last job, be positive and complimentary about your last employer even though you might not want to be. If you were “let go” show that you totally understand the business reasons behind your previous employer shedding the team.
Are you listening? (part 1)
When being asked questions, sit slightly forward to show your level of interest and nod a few times to broadcast that A) you are still awake and listening and B) you respect and understand the question coming at you. Believe it or not, it makes the interviewer feel good!
It’s good to fail.
Sometimes a potential employer will go rogue and ask you about your shortcomings, weaknesses or total failures. It’s OK. Make sure you can think of something that demonstrates how you learn from failure and adjust to improve your performance. Claiming “I’m a perfectionist” won’t cut it! But pointing out how you need to look at a big sales win as just the start of a client relationship rather than taking your foot off the gas like you did last time, will check the box for sure!
Are you listening? (part 2)
What do they REALLY want? What are they REALLY saying? During the entire conversation, you need to be operating your own L-WAR. Listen, Watch, Anticipate and THEN react. Remember, great listening is basically the skill to hear what it is they want to buy BEFORE you attempt to sell! The job interview is the ideal place to run your L-WAR!!
Did you just SEE that?
During all business conversations, even the smartest operators will give away their true feelings with their unguarded body language. Be on the look out for some key signals and then switch your approach to bring them back if you think it’s heading in the wrong direction. They are no longer nodding when you speak? Change topic or let them talk. They check their watch more than once? Acknowledge how busy they are and keep your answers shorter. They slowly sit back during one of your responses? They aren’t interested in this bit, close it down and wait for the next question.
Practice safe Techniquette!
You love your gadgets and I love my gadgets. But everyone (yes – even you “Generation Y”!!) needs to hide that fabulous Android/iPhone/Blackberry during your conversation. Silence it and put it out of your sight. Even the mightiest of superheroes cannot resist a sneaky glimpse at a recently arrived alert, message, Tweet or status update.
Talking of Tweets…
As tempted as you may be to leave the meeting and issue a “I clinched it – the guy was a moron” Tweet to your hungry followers, resist the urge. Draw the line people. Remember anything you Tweet or Post is a PUBLICATION and is readable forever!! They will find it. So, if you are going to Tweet – simply make it something that reinforces the cool image you just cultivated in that interview.
Follow up. (Put yourself on the radar!)
Within a day, a pleasant ‘e note’ thanking them for their time and hoping that you get a chance to “meet again soon” is perfectly in order. In fact it will serve as a timely reminder and may even prompt them to look a you again. Within that message try to make a quick reference to something they said. Show you listen, remember and care enough to repeat it back to them. “I trust you got to the movies on time” works absolute wonders (as long as they told you they were rushing out to the movies!!)
Have fun, be yourself – just show them how great you can be!