Job Interview – How to Create a great first impression.


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Many experts in communications claim that the first 30 or 60 seconds are crucial for building a visual opinion for the person sitting opposite us.

If this is true (and my personal experience also confirms this), then you have the task to achieve your first small victory in getting a good first impression before the job interview has even started. It will be perfect if you can fulfill this task in 60 seconds and even better if you can achieve it for 30 seconds.

Do not worry – this is actually easy. See what you can do:

  1. Dress appropriately

Yes, I know that it may sound elementary when you first read it, but I have reasons to do this emphasis, as long as the percentage of people dressed inappropriately for an interview is very high these days.

Remember the following rule – you should be dressed as you think the interviewer will be dressed or one step higher than him.

Or, if you sit for an interview in an office of one company and know that you will meet with some business people, then a suit, a shirt and a tie are mandatory if you are male and clean business suit, if you are a woman.

However, if applying for a job which is not so strictly in the business area like for example for a chef in a fast food restaurant, trousers and shirt would suffice in most demanding case, if you are a woman – a free, sport-elegant clothes, and why not a light color if the season and your wardrobe are allowing it (light is related to cleanliness and hygiene, as it is necessary in cooking).

Especially for clothing and appearance we are going to talk in another material, but this is the important principle – put on clothes which are expected to be worn at this level, or one step higher than the person leading the interview.

  1. Be on time for the interview

If you have a time set for the meeting (and you should have) – be punctual!

Your presence at the appointed hour or a few minutes earlier is the first step towards establishing a great first impression. Nobody likes when the other party is late, and it does not speak well when future employees do that.

So I encourage you to organize your trip to the company that you can be in front of the employer at least 15-20 minutes before the interview, and you should be at the door for an interview (with the secretary or other assistant) at least 5-10 minutes before that.

  1. Be observant

Your arrival 15-20 minutes prior to the meeting will help you calm down more or less for your meeting, to normalize your heart rate and to adjust psychologically.

The last 5-10 minutes inside the premises of the company will also help you to directly observe what is the working environment, how do people that you are going to work with look like , how they are dressed and what is the language that you should use.

Tips

I personally go to job interviews at least 15 minutes earlier in order to do all the things that I have just described, and to collect the following important information:

Are the furniture modern, economically, raunchy or cheap?

Is it neat, clean and comfortable in the corridors as well as in the rooms of the company? It is quickly noticeable and speaks a lot about the future climate and the mentality of many business owners.

To make an observation about the phone calls of the company, and for this purpose you should wait at the reception desk of the secretary. If it rings from time to time – then the company has a job, if it is silent – this could be bad.

What does the secretary think for the company she is working for and for which you are going to apply, and even what does she think for your future boss? You will be surprised to find out how many things you may know from a secretary in just 10 minutes of conversation with her.

What do employees talk in the corridors, how are they dressed, do they use a certain jargon, are they smiling? All these are invaluable signals that can help a lot during the interview, which is within minutes.

All this information has helped me a lot about the correct setting for the interview. Thanks to it I get the chance to make appropriate prelude at the meeting, to “melt the ice” and immediately led the interviewer to pay me more attention.


How To Nail The Job Interview (part 2)


3) Present Solutions. The most effective sales technique used by sales professionals combines asking questions with making a specific sales pitch. You want to make certain that the person is engaged with you and still wants or needs your services. To do that you will ask questions that help you see if the person is still willing and able to buy. In an interview you will most likely not be the one to ask the bulk of the questions. However, a good job candidate will listen carefully, ask probing questions, and present his answers so as to address the specific problems that the interviewer has. This takes skill and practice! We aren’t used to listening actively in our culture. But it’s a skill you had better learn and practice if you want to get a job. You can be certain that your most qualified competitor has taken the time to learn how to listen and ask deep, probing questions.

4) Handle Objections. This is where you have an opportunity to show your prospective employer why you are uniquely suited for the position. If you have done a good job of steps 1 – 3, you will know ahead of time what objections might come up. They typically fall into 2 categories: a) experience and b) personality.

1. Experience. Be aware that these objections may be left unspoken, so you will have to utilize your experience and intuition to know they exist. The best way to overcome the experience objection is to come back to the needs the employer has addressed and highlight your ability to help meet their needs. Use your quantified statements to show specifically how you have dealt with this issue in your past.

2. For personality objections, you will want to help the interviewer envision you in the position. They want to know how well you will work with a team, how you will interact with leadership, how well your personality fits the corporate culture. The best way to let them know this is to ask direct questions about the company, culture, and co-workers. It’s important that you are a good fit as well, otherwise you will be at this job search again rather soon. Consult with a professional career coach how to conduct such a conversation.

5) Close the Sale. Sales professionals have a variety of “closing techniques” in their sales quiver. These techniques have funny names like “the which close,” “the trial close,” “the takeaway,” and even “the red dress close.” Honestly, in my opinion, most of these techniques give salespeople a bad name (can you say, “used car salesman?”). I recommend that most job seekers refrain from the use of such techniques.

There are, however, some softer closing techniques that will help you move forward in the interview process. I recommend the following 3 step approach. This is what I call “the job interview soft close.”

1. Clarify with the interviewer that you have adequately addressed all of their needs, concerns and objections. Some good questions to use here include: “have I adequately addressed all of your concerns?” and “How do you feel my experience and qualifications meet your needs for this position?”

3. Get a firm commitment for following up. If the interviewer tells you he will call you next week, say, “Which day? I’ve got several engagements next week and I want to be sure to block out some time for you.” If they give you a day, ask what time. Ask if it is ok to check back with them directly in 3 days to see where they are in the decision making process. Get a direct phone number to call. Set a firm date and time and don’t forget to make the call at exactly that time. Treat that follow up call in the same way you did the face-to-face interview – which means you need to dress in business clothes and call from a quiet location, etc.


How To Nail The Job Interview (part 1)


In the job search process we compare the job search to the work of the sales and marketing professional.  This new and powerful model for job seekers may a bit unusual but it really works! In our model, your resume is part of your marketing packet, and the interviews are where you proceed through the 5 steps of the sales process to make the sale.  In this article we take an in-depth look at the interview from the perspective of a professional salesperson.  Granted, this approach will be uncomfortable for those of you who aren’t used to selling.  You may not like this approach.  You may not even choose to use this approach.  However, I encourage you to take a serious look at it and see what you can learn from a pro about making this very important sale – YOURSELF.

There are many sales models out there, and professional sales people will argue over the effectiveness of their preferred choice.

However, they all boil down to a few simple steps that, when followed, will help turn a prospect into a buyer. The five steps I see most often are:

  • Identify needs (or problems)
  • Qualify buyers
  • Present solutions
  • Handle objections
  • Close the sale

1)   Identify Needs. The needs identification process begins before you write your resume.  You want to have a clear understanding of what you have to offer and specific knowledge of who needs it.  You want to make this step as precise as possible. Every good salesperson will tell you that knowing your target audience is key to making the sale.  You don’t want to waste your time (or theirs) talking to people who don’t need your product or services. When you identify the needs or problems of your prospective employer you can prepare your interview questions and answers to demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate.

2)   Qualify Buyers. If you are selling cars, it is vitally important to know if you are talking to someone who is a serious buyer or just a “tire kicker.”  Likewise, in the job interview, you want to determine as quickly as possible if the person with whom you are meeting has the ability to make the hiring decision or if they are just trying to make a list to send up the food chain.  There are different tactics for each of these situations, and all of them equates to “making the sale.”  However, the “sale” in each instance may be different. In the interview process, “making the sale” equates to getting a job offer when you are meeting with someone who has hiring authority. In all other cases “making the sale” means “getting the next interview.”

In part 2, we will cover the remaining aspects of nailing a job interview process. Stay tuned!