The problem with career advice, there’s just so darn much of it out there. Everybody has a personal slant on how best to present yourself in an interview. It’s refreshing to come across something as simple as a bulleted list of best practices to follow. That’s why I like this advice, provided by Jim Camp, an internationally coach and trainer, and author of NO: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home.
Camp recognizes that job seekers feel like they’re at a disadvantage. They go into the interview feeling nervous about rejection, ashamed of getting fired from their last job, or too anxious to please. He cautions however, that if you let such emotions and attitudes overtake you, you’ll be unable to think about the challenges facing this company and unable to articulate why they need you and should hire you.
Here are his nine other tried-and-true tips to getting hired:
1. Do impeccable research on the company and position before the interview. Read recent business articles, visit the company’s website, and read press releases and annual reports. Write down anything and everything about this company.
2. Don’t try to impress them with your dress, attitude, or speech. It will backfire. Be honest, direct, and authentic. Look decent and be comfortable in your own skin.
3. Find out what your interviewer wants by asking questions. Your aim is to discover the company’s problems, issues, and needs so you can position yourself as the solution. Example: “What are the biggest challenges facing your company?”
4. Ask interrogative-led questions–what, how, and why–to help YOU direct the dialogue. These get your interviewer spilling the beans. Example: “How do you see this position developing and changing over the next three years?”
5. Get your interviewer to reveal what a “good fit” means to them. Your objective is to find out how you might uniquely enhance this company. Example: “How would you describe your employees and the culture of this organization?”
6. Don’t volunteer too much information. You might think your previous working environment is relevant. You might think your family life is important. You might think your hobbies are character revealing. But telling too much gives your interviewer fuel to make assumptions and draw conclusions about you.
7. Be a blank slate. Learn to clear your mind of assumptions, fears, and expectations so you will be emotionally neutral and can maintain an open-minded perspective. If you start to feel hopeful or fearful, needy or overconfident, drop your pen, shift in your chair, take a deep breath–do anything to distract yourself and get back to neutral.
8. Don’t be needy. Neediness kills your advantage in a job interview. You do not NEED this job. You need water, food, and air.
9. Focus on what you can control. The only thing you can control in the interview is your behavior and your responses. Focus on listening carefully–taking notes if necessary–and on answering questions in such a way that you are always keeping your interviewer’s requirements and goals in mind. Your answers should reflect how you fit in with this employer’s aims and enhance the employer’s objectives.