Dazzle them with your winning style and land the job you’ve always wanted. Confidence. You don’t always see it, but you can feel it. It’s the magic ingredient that, coupled with people skills and a proven work ethic, can help you land that dream job. But in job hunting – where the door of opportunity can open and close very quickly – the interview usually gives you an average of only 30 minutes to an hour to dazzle the recruiter with your winning personality. But be warned: HR managers who interview hundreds of people everyday don’t have time to waste. All those years of weeding out the chaff from the grain have also given them a knack for telling if the person in front of them can make it or not. You simply can’t show up for a job interview, hoping to breeze through by faking it.
You have to come prepared. You have to know your stuff. You have to get their attention the minute you arrive. In job interviews, first impressions last.
Dress to impress
First, make sure you are properly dressed. That means smart corporate attire such as a neatly pressed blazer over black pants or a black skirt. High heels are recommended; open-toed sandals are a no-no. Your wardrobe does not have to he expensive, but it must look neat and clean. Conservative colors are in, screaming hues are out. If you like, you can wear understated jewelry to soften your look.
Do not come in casual attire, even if you’re applying for a creative post (e.g. artist in a media or advertising company). Comfortable clothes in the workplace – like flexible working hours – are privileges granted to you after you have proven yourself; they are the exception, not the rule.
Second, come on time. Tardiness, even if only for a few minutes, can cost you.
Why? Being punctual tells the interviewer that you are serious about the job and demonstrates proper respect for the person you will be doing business with. Traffic, ongoing construction in your area, the weather – none of these are acceptable reasons for tardiness. If you live a significant distance from the office which hold the job interview, leave an hour earlier if necessary. Coming early will also give you time to fix yourself and make sure that you look presentable.
Confidence comes from self-knowledge
Do your homework days before the interview. Nothing is more frustrating to the interviewer than awkward silences. You have to know why you’re applying – beyond the obvious fact that you need the job. Moreover, you must be able to tell the recruiter why you are the best person for the position, and why they should hire you instead of someone else.
One last tip: never bring out salary concerns during the first interview. Though recruiters understand your financial concerns, they must not see that it is your primary motivation – your desire to improve yourself and contribute to the well-being of the company must predominate.
If the recruiter does ask it, do not pad your present salary – recruiters can check this out. However, ask that you would like more considering that the pressure of the current position you are applying for is greater.
Once the interview is over, shake hands politely with the recruiter, smile, and say a word of thanks.
As soon as you get home, however, don’t just wait for the phone to ring. Look for the next ad and send your resume. Success – and the right job – comes with planting a lot of seeds.
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