Whether the market is good, bad, or somewhere in between, the process of applying for jobs is always competitive.
As you get closer to the top of the career pyramid, the pool of job openings dwindles, making rivalry fierce for desirable positions. With potentially dozens of competitors in a preliminary interview situation, the information you provide can make all the difference.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and when you aren’t able to communicate everything you need to say, you’re putting what could be an amazing opportunity in jeopardy.
Your Experience Reflects the Position’s Requirements
Many people hold similar jobs, but as you move up the ladder, your unique achievements and accomplishments are what set you apart. Even if the connections between your past experience and the opening you are interviewing for are clear in your mind, it may not be so evident to your interviewer. Clearly and concisely explain why your history is a great fit for the position you’re considering, and outline any specific achievements that can emphasize why you’re the best candidate for the opening.
You Know the Company
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a candidate is to walk into an interview blindly. Rather than assuming you’re a shoo-in, do your best to impress by researching the vacancy, the position requirements, the company dynamic, and what unique attributes you can bring to the table. Is the company a startup? An established global brand? A local resource in the community? How you approach an interview should be tailored toward company qualities and corporate culture, so neglecting to do your homework can guarantee you a failing grade.
You Want to Learn
Even if you have a decade of experience, you’re never done learning. Instead of assuming you can teach your potential teammates once the position is yours, go into the process with plans to learn from the team you’re joining. Don’t be overly – or falsely – enthusiastic, but do let the interviewer know that you are eager to see what the company can offer you, and the growth potential an opening has for your career. Make this as much about the position as it is about you; you want the company you are interviewing with to see the mutual value in a hiring decision.
You Are Excited
It’s only natural to hit a rut at some point in your career, but letting an interviewer see this is the worst thing you can do. When you head to an interview, you need to show your passion for your field and interest in the position shine through, overshadowing any doubts that took over in your pervious role. Most employers can tell when you’re being disingenuous, but an honest expression of excitement at progressing in your field can go a long way. No one wants a bored, bland applicant, so come up with a few things that trigger your enthusiasm and put your game face on.
You Crave Success
A self-centered gunner can come off the wrong way in an interview, but a legitimate craving for success is desirable in virtually every field. There’s no need to wax philosophic about everything you hope to achieve by the time retirement rolls around, but demonstrating your drive and motivation can only help you. Let your interviewer know that you have your eye on the prize, and describe the things you’re hoping to accomplish; if you want to be a good candidate, demonstrating your long-term ambitions can help.
You Are a Team Player
Even work at home positions require interaction with other people every now and then. When you apply for a job, one of the most important qualifications employers look for is team spirit. Whether you’ll be part of a team or overseeing a team, you’ll need to be able to work well with others. Instead of showing your disdain for the general workforce, give your interviewer some examples of times in which you excelled in a team setting, or guided a group of individuals to a successful outcome.
Knowing exactly what to say and how to say it in a job interview is an art form, and it only takes a few wrong moves to set yourself back irreparably in the process. When you know the right details to emphasize, however, you’re far more likely to make a positive impression, no matter who you’re interviewing with. By providing what your interviewer wants to know in a preliminary interview, you’ll be one step closer to the opportunity of a lifetime.