The Top Secret Guide to Job Interviewing Success

By Mary White

The Top Secret Guide to Job Interviewing Success

K eep this in mind when you are looking for a job.  Employers don’t like to spend time interviewing job candidates.  They just want to find the right person to do the job.  You just need to convince them why you are that person.  Assuming that the candidates being interviewed have the basic skills needed to perform the job, there are certain key indicators that employers look for to let them know that they have the right person.  The right person is the one who has the right skills, attitude, temperament, and personality to fit in with the organization without causing disruption.  Employers need employees who will make their lives easier.  Employers learn from their past hiring mistakes and try not to repeat them. 

Looking for a job is a sales process.  As a job candidate, you have to figure out how to sell yourself to a prospective employer.  Remember that people don’t buy products, they buy features & benefits.  You have to start by ask yourself two questions.  (1) What are my features and benefits?  (2)How can I package them and sell them to an employer?

Your job application or resume is the outside of your package.  Think about the process you go through when you are looking at cereal packages in the grocery store.  Packages that are visually appealing tend to catch your attention.  Employers go through the same process when screening candidates.  If your resume doesn’t look appealing the employer will move on.  You should never use pastel, patterned, or scented paper for your resume.  At a minimum, your resume or application must be clear, easy to read, attractive, and clean. If it is visually appealing, the prospective employer will set it aside to take a second, longer look. 

If the employer keeps your resume or application, you made it through the first “package” inspection, but now you have to pass the scrutiny phase.  During this phase, the employer will look at the content.  The resume or application says one of two things about you.  It may indicate that you are likely to be a bad employee, and the employer will move on to the next application.  It might send the message that you are likely to be a good employee.  If this is the case, the employer will probably schedule an interview.  If you are applying for a lot of jobs but not getting interviews, then you really need to take a look at the way you are “packaging yourself” to prospective employers.  You at least need to get to the point of being like the cereal box that the customer picks up and shakes.

To schedule an interview, the employer will have to call your house.  The manner in which your phone is answered says a lot about you and can determine whether or not you get the interview and/or ultimately the job.  If a drunk uncle or jealous significant other is likely to answer the phone at your house, you need to put your cell phone number on your application instead of your home phone number.  The same goes for your voice mail message.  When you are looking for a job, the following must be removed from your voice mail system:  kids, cute sayings, religious messages, and music.  Employers who don’t like what they hear on the phone probably won’t bother to leave a message.  You also need to make sure that anyone who is likely to answer your phone knows how important it is for you to get your messages in a timely manner.  Employers often offer the position to the first acceptable candidate who completes the interview process. 

Once you get the interview, you still have to keep focusing on selling yourself to the employer.  Remember the basic ABC’s of sales:  Always Be Closing.  It is important that you plan ahead to dress for success.  Most employers believe that the way you choose to look when you interview for a job is truly your personal version of putting your best face forward.  With that in mind you must choose clothes that are suitable for the type of environment you will be working in if you get the job.  Your clothing should fit well, be attractive, and be stylish but not trendy.  Generally, conservative is better in terms of clothing, jewelry, and makeup.  You have to consider your overall image.  Pay attention to your grooming and make sure you are neat in appearance.  Your hair should be in good condition and not be in need of a cut or style.  Your fingernails should be clean and well groomed.  Your shoes should be polished.  Take it easy on the perfume or cologne, or just don’t wear it at all. 

Your appearance sends an important message to employers, but so do other day-of-interview behaviors.  The importance of punctuality cannot be stressed too much.  What type of message are you sending to the employer if you are late for a job interview?  Don’t take anyone with you to the interview.  Even if someone drives you to the interview, don’t let them come inside with you.  This is a signal to the employer that you may have problems getting to work on your own.  Don’t go into the interview smelling like smoke. 

Do your homework before going to the interview.  Even if you pass the packaging test you are going to have to pass the substance test.  If you shake the cereal box and find that it is empty, you are going to walk away from it and make a different selection.  Make sure to do some research the company with which you are interviewing.  You want to sound like you know something about the company and the job.  This demonstrates initiative and motivation to the employer.  Think about how you might answer common interview questions ahead of time.  Make sure to phrase your answers from the perspective of how the employer will benefit from hiring you.  Remember, you are selling yourself to the employer, not the other way around.  Don’t tell the employer that you want the job because you think you will learn a lot from the company.  The employer is looking for how you can help the company, not how the company can benefit you. 

Don’t forget to ASK FOR THE JOB at the end of the interview.  If you made it this far, don’t let yourself lose the sale at the closing.  Remember that employers are looking for a reasons to hire the people they invite for interviews.  They don’t want to interview 100 people to fill one position.  They want to position filled with a good candidate who will be a long term asset to the organization.  All you have to do is get in the door and sell yourself.  Before you know it, you’ll be getting dressed for your first day at the job of your dreams.


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