The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

Guide to job hunting: How to shine at interview part 2

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Butterfly Catcher 096

Finding your dream job is like chasing butterflies with a wide net: You have to cover a whole lot of ground before you bag one!

In last week’s post, I explained the importance of making yourself memorable. Lets take that a few steps further now:

1. Know what you can offer immediately.

Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area. If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. But don’t say, for example, “I would love to be in charge of revamping your business development strategy.” Firstly, that’s fairly presumptuous, and then, someone may already be in charge of that. Instead, share details regarding your skills and show how they would benefit the company. The interviewer will be smart enough to recognize how the expertise you offer can be used.
2. Don’t create negative sound bites.

A sound bite is literally a snap shot of what is said. Unfortunately, the human brain seems to zoom in on negative things first, before noticing the positive. There is a limit to how much any person can remember, especially after sitting through several interviews! So any interviewer will only remember a few sound bites, especially  the negative ones. So be careful with the words you use when you answer questions. If you’ve never been in charge of training, don’t say, “I’ve never been in charge of training.” Rather say something like, “I didn’t hold the specific title, but I have trained dozens of new hires and created several training guides.” Try to steer away from using negative words and phrases like “I can’t,” or “I haven’t,” or “I don’t.” Clearly, you must be honest – This is not about what you say, but rather how you say it. Share applicable experience and find the positives in what you have done. No matter what the subject, be positive: Even your worst mistake can be your best learning experience.
3. Ask for the job based on facts – Close positively

By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether this is the job for you. If you need more information, say so. Otherwise simply “close the sale” and ask for the job. (Don’t worry about appearing pushy: Interviewers actually like it when you ask. It saves them a job!) Focus on specific aspects of the job: Explain you work best with teams, or thrive in unsupervised roles, or get energized by frequent travel…. Ask for the job and use facts to prove you want it — and deserve it.
4. Reinforce your interest with a follow-up.

Email follow-ups are fine; social media connections are acceptable; following up based on something you learned during the interview is best. Send an email including additional information you were asked to provide, or a link to a subject you discussed (whether business or personal.) The better the interview (And the more closely you listened) the easier it will be to think of ways you can make following up seem natural and unforced. And make sure you say thanks — never underestimate the power of gratitude.

So when you see a butterfly, position your net carefully and make sure that when you go for it, you are going to get it. Otherwise, keep going! The right one will soon fall into your net.


Written by Cathy Richardson

January 21, 2013 at 9:49 am

Posted in Recruitment

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