By Sunny Simon
It’s been weeks since you interviewed for that dream job with your employer of choice. Your resume proves you are qualified, so what went wrong? Why the silent treatment? Playing the waiting game is frustrating and being passed-up for that coveted position is deflating. You can improve your interviewing skills by avoiding these six fatal mistakes.
1. Ignore the questions asked: Often applicants are so anxious to prove worthy of the job, a rehearsed speech comes tumbling out after the initial hello. The interviewer gets bored, tunes out and wonders how soon she can show you the door. Prove to the recruiter you listen attentively by replying to questions with a direct answer. Watch for positive body language. If she looks perplexed, ask if clarification is required. If the question is, tell me about a time when you met an unrealistic deadline, launch into a succinct story giving a complete picture of how you handled the situation. Display enthusiasm and interest as you discuss why you are well-suited for the job.
2. Nerves take over: Avoid self-sabotage and project a natural confidence. Many job candidates miss the opportunity to shine by working up a case of the jitters. Showing up at the interview like a frightened bird ruins your chances of securing an offer. Based on your resume, you have the skills and abilities the employer needs so relax. Don’t think of the interview as a test, but rather as an exchange of knowledge.
3. Image issues: Dress appropriately. Admittedly, it sounds elementary; however, recruiters know that the image you present at the interview is you at your best. If you don’t look professional at the initial meeting, your stock rapidly declines. Body language is also important. Maintain a relaxed posture, employ positive facial expressions and gesture occasionally.
4. Integrity issues: Keep it real by being honest. If you are thrown by a challenging question, avoid reacting. Pause and take a moment to think before you reply. If you do not have a good answer, admit it. You are not expected to know everything. Explain that if you are lacking a particular expertise you are a quick study. Provide a concrete example of how you excel at learning.
5. Flat personality: Let your personality sparkle. Interviewing candidates hour after hour becomes tedious. Whoever is doing the interviewing is a real person. Offer up a reason to see her smile by injecting a bit of humor.
6. No follow-up: Send a genuine thank you, not a perfunctory note. Write a meaningful communication that will help her remember you as the best of the best.
Prior to founding Raise the Bar High, a career coaching firm, Simon spent many years as an executive recruiter.