Welcome to Part II of Selling Yourself As A Job Seeker: How To Sell Yourself In An Interview.
Last week we discussed how to get an interview through networking and personal branding techniques. After putting those tips to use, have the interview lined up! Congrats! Now you may be asking yourself, “how can I actively prepare for this?” Check out these three key factors that will help you nail an interview.
Obviously we want to look our best for an interview, but how?
Make sure that you are dressed professionally.
Plan your outfit two days or so ahead of the interview. Make sure you are comfortable in it not only looks wise, but with moving! You don’t want to be stuck in pants that are too tight or a shirt so big it looks like a sheet. What kind of shirt and pants you ask? Stick with something along the lines of slack, khaki’s, and button ups. Adding a well fitted blazer doesn’t hurt either. As for colors, a good rule of thumb is to stick with the basics, such as black, grey, white, or blue. Try to avoid patterns that are “in your face.”
Remember; the interviewer wants to get to know your professional skills, not your shopping skills.
Avoid wearing too much cologne or perfume. If you insist, stick to one squirt. On the topic of smells, avoid chewing gum. Fresh breath is always nice, but the chomping that comes with gum is not. If you want fresh breath, have a mint a few minutes before the interview. When it comes to shoes, make sure they are not an eye sore. Polish them, make sure they do not reek, and avoid open toed shoes. Style your hair with how you feel comfortable. Avoid playing with it and adjusting it during the interview as this could get distracting. Robustly dyed hair may be inappropriate for the job, so stick to natural. In a nut shell, you do not want to have anything on you that is going to distract the interviewer from what you are saying.
Overdressed is better than underdressed!
When we are nervous, we tend to talk at one hundred words per minute.
Talking too fast during an interview may cause the interviewer’s head to spin and cause him or her miss key points you make.
If you know you are a speed speaker when you are nervous, try talking slower than you normally do for a few days before the interview. Taking a pause between sentences could help reduce your speaking speed.
Also, making a pause when you feel buzzwords such as “like,” “uhm,” or “uh” bubbling up will help you speak more effectively.
Just like, imagine you are like, uhm, talking with some uh, like person, and uhm, they are like talking like this. So distracting, right? Try this technique on for size; take a day and tally how many times you use these buzzwords while trying the best you can to replace them with pauses. Other words you want to avoid are controversial, swear, and offensive words.
Words you do not want to avoid during an interview are industry specific terms.
Use the technical terms you are familiar with. For example, the payroll program you used previously was not a “who’s-a-what’s-it” or a “thingy.” Go over your past job descriptions and brush up on the programs you have used in the past. Admit to the terms brought up in the interview that you do not know. Terms can be taught, so don’t sweat it! If the interviewer brings up a topic you are particularly excited about, do not cut them off to put your two cents in. Take the topic and run with it after the interviewer is done expressing it. Not sure how you sound? Record yourself while role playing the interview with someone and listen back to it.
Show more than tell
Organizations bring on new people to fit certain roles or fix specific problems. Before the interview, research what parts of the business the position you are interviewing for would directly affect.
Role play yourself in the potential position and solve the problems you find.
For example, if you are being interviewed for a sales manager role, look up the company’s sales history related to the budget expenses and show where you would channel the budget to increase sales. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act makes income statements and various accounting documents available to the public for publicly traded companies. By this law, accounting materials must be published so that potential investors (and the public) know what’s happening behind the scenes. If you are interviewing for a publicly traded company, finding accounting documents will take a little Google search. Gathering this data will allow you to also see where the company prioritizes its spending, thusly giving you a rough idea on which departments are the most influential to the overall business.
This exercise will allow you to feel out the role before you fill it and bring valuable talking points to the interview. Plus, it will show how serious you are to the interviewers.
If you are to take away one tip from this entire series, it is this one; be honest. If you do not know what the interviewer is referring to, do not be afraid to ask clarifying questions. It’s tempting to say we are guru’s at certain responsibilities in our dream job descriptions, but if we are not to that point, let’s not put on a charade as if we are. “Fake it till you make it” is not the wisest term for anyone going into an interview. Take a deep breath, envision success, and go for it!
Stay tuned for Part III of Selling Yourself As A Job Seeker: Are You The One For Me?
We will explore how to decipher if the job you are offered is the best for you at this time in your life and for where you want to go in your career.