A few jobs back, HR had scheduled four interviews, throughout my day, for a position I had open. The first interview went “okay.” The second candidate, however, impressed me so much I hired him on the spot. I instructed HR to cancel the remaining two interviews.
The second candidate did something I rarely see—they presented themselves as a ‘no brainer’ to hire.
- Their resume was result-oriented (Not a list of opinions — “I’m a team player,” “detail-oriented,” “hard-working,” etc.).
- They dressed as if they were already employed with my company. (In this case, a global multi-brand tour operator.)
- They clearly articulated their value.
- They told me several STAR (Situation. Task. Action. Results.) stories I could envision and relate to.
If your resume (skills and experience) impressed the employer, and after reading your LinkedIn profile to determine if you’re interview-worthy, you’ll be invited to an interview—the first most likely being via Zoom or Skype.
Impressing someone on paper and via your LinkedIn profile has its challenges, especially since you’re competing against many other candidates just as qualified as you. However, where the rubber meets the road is when you’re sitting face-to-face with the hiring manager.
Presenting yourself in a way your interviewer can envision you fitting with the company’s culture and the current team, as well as gives them confidence you’ll hit the ground running, will substantially increase your odds of receiving a nod of approval.
Regardless of whether you’re interviewing via video, sitting in a boardroom, a coffee shop or the interviewer’s office, focus on the following:
- Your attire
- Your body language
- Articulating how you meet the employer’s needs and will solve the problems the position exists to solve
- Being mindful of your interviewer’s time.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous column, being deemed “a fit” supersedes your experience and qualifications. Your image is paramount in giving the impression you’re “one of them.”
Make sure your attire is in line with the company culture. Obviously, this will differ from company to company, as well as between industries. If you’re interviewing for a position in a bank or insurance company, formal attire, even in 2021, is appropriate, such as a business suit, shirt, and tie. On the opposite end of the spectrum, casual clothing, even jeans and sneakers, can be acceptable if you’re interviewing with a design studio or tech start-up. The key is to dress as if you already work for the employer.
- Body language.
Your body language, along with your words, greatly influences the first impressions someone has about you.
If you’re seated, say in the reception area, stand to greet your interviewer. Firmly shake your interviewer’s hand, or each member of your interview panel, while maintaining a broad smile and steady eye contact. Say something along the lines of, “Nice to meet you, Alice.” Remember your interviewer’s name and use it naturally throughout your interview. Maintain eye contact during the interview. This shows your interviewer(s) you’re engaged in the conversation. Speak in a clear and audible voice. Your posture can portray you as arrogant, so be conscious of the way you sit or stand. During the interview, display a natural body language with relaxed shoulders and open arms by your side.
- Articulate how you meet the employer’s needs.
This is where you solidify, you’re a ‘no brainer’ to hire.
If you’re interviewing with the person you’d be reporting to, keep this piece of human psychology in mind: A person is more likely to want to build a relationship with you if you understand their situation, problems, and goals.
Start with the job description. Now that you’ve landed an interview, refer to the job description, paying close attention to job qualifications and duties.
Have STAR stories ready regarding specific situations in which you used each of these skills. Try to keep your STARs short and vivid. The best STAR ever said to me: “I sold Corvettes in Las Vegas.” (Yes, I hired the person.)
- Be mindful of the time.
Always be punctual for your scheduled interview time! Being punctual is a sign of being a professional, as well as respect for the other person. Stick within the time frame your interview was scheduled for. (usually 45 minutes to 1 hour)
In 2021 employers are looking for candidates who’ll mesh with their workplace culture. Showing you belong will go a long way in making yourself a ‘no brainer’ to hire