Congratulations! Your resume and cover letter has done their part and got you the interview. Now it's time to get that job, so you can get a paycheck.
But now you are getting nervous, getting flashbacks to failed interviews and will most likely talk yourself out of the job before you get it.
STOP! STOP RIGHT NOW!!!!!
Let's take a step back and start over.
First, you clearly got something the employer needs; otherwise, they would not have called you to set up an interview.
Second, you succeeded in creating a good resume that sold you and a cover letter that convinced them to call you.
You actually did a darn good job, so pat yourself on the back as many people are not getting interviews and you got one.
A Simple Process
Now that you got the interview, there are four key areas you can focus on to help you get ready for the interview. They are:
Your resume projects a certain image of you to the employer. As a result, your appearance could disqualify you for a job if it does not match.
Interviewers quickly scan your overall appearance and determine whether you would fit into their environment.
The questions they may think to themselves is, "Does your clothing match or exceed the workplace atmosphere?" When in doubt ask how you should dress for the interview.
You must also pay attention to your body language. I tell my students all the time, "Your body is talking even when your mouth is shut." Monitor how you sit, stand, hold your hands, etc. You are being watched, so be careful.
In addition, how you present yourself verbally will also have a huge impact on your ability to get the job. This is especially true if you have client facing activities that require the ability to communicate effectively.
You MUST not under any circumstance use slang. You MUST always use proper English and be careful with your pronunciations.
The one thing I did not tell you in the cover letter module that I will reveal now is, "Why would a company hire you to represent them if you cannot properly represent yourself?"
You think the interviewer will not be evaluating everything you do and say? Of course they will!
The interview starts from the time you wake up until you get home and send the thank you letter. I will go into a little more detail about that Thank You Letter in the next module.
I can tell you from experience that this is where most people drop the ball and why they do not get the jobs they qualify to get.
It is critical that you demonstrate a good understanding of what the company does.
Please, do not go to the About page and repeat what you have found. Almost everyone will do that.
You can search for the company using Google News or any reputable news site and get information that may not be available on their web site.
You must identify what is important to them and see if what you bring to the table ties in with where they are going.
This will take a little effort on your part but it will pay off handsomely during the interview.
You must also find out what makes them stand out from the competition. That means you have to do some reading to determine the key differences between them and their competitors.
Once you have the information you now have to identify how you can help them compete with their competitors.
It's important you understand that companies do not want to hire people who want a paycheck. They want people who can make a difference in the business, bring about positive change, and increase revenue.
Never forget you and everyone else has a dollar value attached to your paycheck. What I mean is every company is fully aware of how much they will make by hiring you.
Next, you must re-read the job posting and be absolutely sure you can prove you have what they are looking for in an employee. Unfortunately, telling the employer is no longer sufficient as too many people have lied in the past.
Also, if it is a job you really want please print out the job description. You will notice after about 30-days or so most jobs get removed online.
If you get a call, and do not have the details of the position available, you will be at a lost.
So, please print out any job descriptions for jobs that you are really interested in or you will wish you did later.
You must also come up with your own answers to interview questions. At the end of the day, no one should be able to give the same answers as you because your experience is unique.
It's like when you go on group interviews and the employer is picking people in the room to answer questions and they finally get to you and you are sliding down in the chair because everyone before you has given your answer to the question.
That should never happen. Ever! I will say this again, no one should ever say what you say because your answers come from your experience.
If someone says what you were going to say then it was never your answer but an answer you found on the Internet or someone gave it to you.
There are ways to come up with your own interview answers. It is not difficult but does require some work on your part.
I help my coaching clients with this every day and they thank me for it as they can interview with confidence knowing their answers cannot be used by anyone.
Companies need to see you are cool, calm and collected under pressure.
They want to know that you can handle the "unknown" because that is generally where they operate on a daily basis.
What is "known" is easy to handle and the unexpected is what makes or breaks you in your career.
If I had to summarize this Preparation section, I would say you need the following:
- Know the company
- Know the position
- Know the industry, and
- Know the competition
If you choose to ignore any one of those 4 areas the person who is well versed in all four will almost always get the job over you even if they are not as qualified because they are more prepared! It really is that simple.
There is a new emphasis in the work environment that is hurting a lot of people and many do not understand why!
Companies want people with good personalities. They can train you to do anything as long as you have that inviting personality.
It's the people with the nasty attitudes and personalities who think they don't have them or the ones who cannot work with people that are having a difficult time finding work.
I want to help you to understand this because it is critical to helping you get back to work or to get another job.
There were so many bad hires over the last 20-years that companies have come to realize if I am going to work with someone for 40+ hours a week, I need to be as sure as possible that this person has a decent personality.
What happens if the wrong person is picked who does not have a decent personality?
The staff is stuck with a person who is making the work atmosphere more toxic than it needs to be. Plus, staff morale and productivity could be affected in a negative way.
Recruiters want to know you are a good fit for the company. Being personable and carrying a conversation helps. Just be yourself, in a good way and demonstrate you are the best candidate for the position.
Also, you will want to research the interviewer on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You want to identify what you have in common. This sounds weird right? Let me show you something.
Remember a time when you went on a vacation and you bumped into someone from your city? Didn't you feel an instant connection with them because you had something in common? Why do you think things are different on an interview? It's not!
It's important to remember that a job will generally serve two purposes:
- To help you to get to where you desire to go in your career, or
- To provide a meaningful work experience until you retire
Why would someone settle for #2 I will never understand but there are millions of people who want that and they are great workers.
If you desire #1 then you should start focusing on answering the following questions:
- Where do you desire to end up in your professional life? - you have a vision of where you desire to be and what you want to do. Write that down and put it someplace where you can review it daily. If not, work will take over and you will get stuck in the rat race with your dreams slowly disappearing right before your eyes.
- How will you get there? - what are going to do to get to the destination that will make you happy? Make sure you start with the end result and work your way backwards.
- What is your time frame to get there? - You must always give yourself a deadline. So, if you desire to have a new Manager position then state exactly when (the specific date or time frame) you would like to achieve it. Next, put it in your phone and set an alarm for that day asking if you achieved that milestone.
- What resources will you need to get there? - You must identify what you will need to reach your goal. You will not have everything you need. Write down skills, experience, knowledge, etc. that will be needed and figure out how to get it.
- Who will you need to meet to get there? - This is not a journey you will take alone. You will need help. Connect with people who have the same passion as you. Get wisdom and insight from those who are more experienced to avoid the common pitfalls.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses? - You must focus on what you do best and hand the rest over to someone who does it better than you. For example, I can create graphics but a Graphic Designer can do it faster and better than I could. Why would I waste time on that when I can focus on creating the content? Do what you do best and outsource the rest.
What Is Next?
Once you work through the Four P's (Presentation, Preparation, Personality, and Planning) it's time to refine the other skills that will assist you to get a job.
There are so many transferable skills you possess that can be used for your benefit. Here are a few common ones....
- Communication Skills
- Written and oratory
- Tech skills
- Computer literate is no longer sufficient
- Must be tech savvy
- Leadership skills
- Do not be afraid to make decisions
- Do not be afraid to take action
- Expand your reach
- Do not limit yourself
The one thing you will learn about me is I keep things as simple as I possibly can because I do not need you thinking too much.
I need you to take action, see your results, modify your approach and keep pressing forward.
I want to share something with you that may help you to better understand my approach.
A farmer and gardener plants seeds. They cultivate the land, water it in the hope that something will spring forth from the ground. There is a time or season where nothing appears to happen. Yet, they continue with their routine.
People who drive by or walk by may think, "Why are they watering that area. Nothing has come forth for the last 30-days or 90-days. They are just wasting their time."
Then one day out of nowhere something appears to be breaking through the soil. Soon it breaks through and there is evidence of seeds being planted.
The problem with most people, and probably you too, is you have to see it to believe it.
But a Farmer and Gardener knows that when seeds are planted they must first develop roots and find a source of water. Then they grow up and out.
The same thing applies when looking for a job. There are things that just work.
All you have to do is apply them. Stick with it and keep working it as in due time you will reap the benefits.
But when you stop you lose out on the momentum and that breakthrough that was just a day away disappears and you have to start over.
I would not share anything with you that does not work. But if you do not work it then it will never work.
Consistently apply what I share with you and watch how things begin to turn around for you. Do not give up. You've come this far why give up now?
Just because something looks like it's not working does not mean it is not working. Always remember that and it will help you to make it through the tough times.
If you are serious about transforming your life and willing to put forth the effort, I can assist you to achieve your personal, professional and educational goals.
I only help people who help themselves! Hopefully, you will be one of the 100,000 people I will help this year.
I wish you much success in your endeavor to get a better job or to find a job. You have all that you need. You just have to figure out how to use it effectively.
Until next time!
Shawn "The Job Hunt Ninja" Nelson