By Sunny Simon

The voice on the other end of the line was brimming with excitement. It was the type of call I love receiving. Amanda, a client recently relegated to the unemployment rolls due to a company downsizing, scored an interview with a company on her target list. She peppered me almost non-stop with questions on how to prepare for the meeting. Amanda knew preparation was imperative and echoed back my cardinal rule: never wing an interview.

We spent considerable time rehearsing until she indicated she was ready. Before signing off she asked an insightful question. Amanda wanted my opinion on what it really takes to nail an interview. Good question. Having spent over 20 years interviewing candidates in my corporate human resources role, I’ve put considerable thought into why a candidate is chosen over their competition. My theory boils down to three C’s: competence, confidence and chemistry.

If you have been invited to interview, you probably clinched the first “C.” Your well written resume pre-loaded with key words matching the job description of the position you are vying for convinced the recruiter you have the chops to join the roster of candidates. No doubt your initial contact with the company was a phone screen. You passed, so eliminate any plaguing negative self doubts. Review all the reasons why you can step into this role and begin adding immediate value which should prime you for the second very weighty “C.”

The minute you reach across the desk with a smile and give a firm handshake to the hiring manager, you should be exuding confidence. In the book, “The Confidence Code,” authors Kay and Shipman agree a bit of overconfidence in life is better than a bit of under confidence because it propels us to try new things and take action. Let’s face it, a job interview is basically a sales call and the product is YOU. To accomplish your objective, an offer of employment, you must confidently market the many reasons why you are the ideal candidate for the job.

The third “C,” chemistry, is the most elusive. Be aware that interviewers have biases. They may not immediately warm to your personality type. Or perhaps you remind them of a rival or look like an ex-spouse. Do not let any negative vibes deflate your confidence. Prepare to dig deeper. Remain confident and find a way to connect with your interviewer. A bit of humor helps.

Work on the three C’s, practice and prepare and you will make the short list. Good luck!

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at