Things Interviewers Won't Tell You, but You Need to Know
For many, interviewing can be one of the most stressful parts of the job search process. What to wear, what questions to ask and what is the appropriate follow-up post-interview are areas that may cross your mind. But there is also something else you should consider; the things interviewers judge you on but won't specifically tell you. The next time you gear up for an interview, consider the following.
- Do you see what she's wearing! "Don't judge a book by its cover," unfortunately is not a metaphor that interviewers follow. In fact, more often than not, the way you dress for an interview, are groomed, and even the way you smell - yes, smell - will all be judged for or against you. Even if you are interviewing for a casual work environment, the general rule of thumb is to always dress professionally when interviewing. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to wear a suit; however, you should opt for more conservative and conventional attire - no sneakers, no jeans, and avoid trendy fashions.
- Are you talking to me? You don't need to speak like an intellectual, but you do need to refrain from using slang terminology or unsavory language; this will be to your detriment. During the interview, you will connect with many people, some of whom may present themselves in a relaxed and laid-back manner - don't get caught off guard. The way you present yourself is your brand, and this includes the words you use when you interview.
Never forget that you are taking part in a professional interaction. Always keep your conversation polite and professional - and refrain from using colorful language, period. You are being judged by each individual you meet - and their feedback will be solicited and taken into consideration when it comes to the final vetting process.
- They like me; they really, really like me. Face it; if the job is between you and another candidate with the same credentials, but the interviewer perceives the other candidate as a better fit, chances are they will get the job. People want to work with people they like and who have similar attributes. The way you fit into a company has a lot to do with your ability to get hired. This does not mean that you should change your personality - or who you are - to get the job, but interviewers do consider personality in terms of "company fit" when assessing job candidates.
- Quiet, please. "Tell me about yourself?" doesn't mean an interviewer wants you to go into a soliloquy about your entire life story. They want you to answer questions that you are only being asked and relevant to the job, and answer them in a complete, yet concise manner. When presented with questions about your past work experience, present high level details and then wait for follow-up questions to determine if you need to delve further. And do not speak negatively about past employers and associates; even if prompted to do so. Sometimes too much information is just that - too much.
- Stop selling, already. The automatic response during an interview is to feel the need to sell you. While promoting your qualifications and experience is a necessary part of the interview process, there's a fine balance between outlining your job skills and over selling. Interviewers can tell the difference between a salesman and genuine experience. Present your credentials - and try to refrain from hyperbole. If you are the best fit for the job, there is no need to over sell!