by Vicky Oliver
You landed an interview for a sought-after position at a top-notch company. You’ve heard that the competition will be fierce. There could be as many as ten people competing for that coveted slot. It’s more important than ever to be at your best so that you can trounce your competitors.
With the economy in rebound mode, there is a burst of new hiring. There are more jobs, but there are also numerous qualified people to fill them. It may require extra effort to stand out from your competitors on the big day. How do you position yourself as the ideal candidate for the job?
Everyone knows the major job interview no-no’s: showing up late, asking about salary and benefits, being unprepared to ask questions about the company. Yet there are other, more subtle ways that women sabotage themselves in job interviews, often in an effort to seem pleasant and agreeable. The problem is, these mistakes don’t impress interviewers, and often lead to lower offers.
Here are five of the most common mistakes women make without even realizing it.
1. Complimenting the interviewer’s appearance
You might be tempted to say that you love her glasses or her shoes, but don’t. Mentioning an interviewer’s physical appearance can appear unprofessional, and create the impression that you aren’t serious. Focus your compliments on professional achievements and save the “I love your shoes!” for after you get the job.
2. Saying “I don’t know” or “I’ve never”
When an interviewer asks about something you don’t have experience with, it’s natural to want to admit it. Employers value a willingness to learn so instead of highlighting your inexperience by saying, “Well, I’ve never been in a situation like that,” or “I don’t really know,” answer in a way that affirms that you want to — and can — learn how to handle those scenarios.
By Crystal Cotton
With 20+ years of experience in human resources, I‘ve had my share of really bad interviews. I confess, early in my career, the bad interview experience could have been my fault. After all, the interview process can be just as grueling for the interviewer as it is for the interviewee; especially if either are inexperienced, overly nervous or just have poor communication and social skills. But, as I became more experienced, more precise with my questions and skilled at soliciting critical information without crossing any lines of legality – this takes a great deal of intuitive skill – it became apparent that sometimes…no, most of the time; it’s not me, it’s you. Yes, you…the ill prepared, inexperienced, uninformed and unprofessional job applicant. You are the primary reason why you’ve gone on a dozen interviews and were not hired.
It’s the most perplexing part of the job search. What did I do wrong? Why didn’t they call me back? How do I convince them that I’m the right person? When you’re getting interviews but no offers, you must look at yourself more closely. Something could be amiss.
By Tony Beshara, Ph.D.
The competition for decent jobs today is tough, especially for women. To gain an edge, you need to arm yourself with inside information about what interviewers want to hear and a clear understanding on how to deliver “powerful phrases” that will help you land the job.
How many times have you kicked yourself for saying the wrong thing in an interview or stumbling because you weren’t sure what the interviewer wanted to hear?
Saying the right words in the right way can turn an interview around in your favor. Let’s face it — most hiring decisions are gut-level evaluations made in the first few minutes of an interview. One McGill University study showed that most interviewers make up their minds to hire someone in the first four minutes of the interview. Like everything else in life, first impressions are important. What you say can and will impact whether or not you land a job.
By Jean Baur
It’s an odd moment: you’re relieved that the interview is over, but then start worrying about how you did and when, if ever, you’ll hear from them. A day seems like a long time and a week is forever! What can you do to keep from climbing the walls or tearing your hair out?
Before you leave an interview, ask about their time frame. When do they plan on making a decision?
During a job interview, this impression is crucial and most of it may be based on your appearance.
James Mitchell, associate director of the Career Center at Ball State University says “job applicants should dress up for an interview to signal to potential employers how serious they are about getting the position.”