by Jeanne Fiol
As the owner of a staffing company that places Accounting & Finance professionals, Administrative positions from entry level to the executive suite, Human Resources professionals and IT & Engineering staff, I have learned over the years that there is an art to getting a job offer and it begins with the interview.
When interviewing, it is of course important to dress professionally and be on you best behavior. And, yes, it’s true that an impression is pretty much made either positively or negatively when the interviewer comes out and takes a look at you and offers to shake your hand. However, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you are not ruled out for the position on the first interview. Some are obvious: Don’t chew gum. Turn off your cell phone. Have extra copies of your resume with you and offer it when you sit down. Have a list of your references typed out, but don’t offer them when you sit down. Use eye contact. Make eye contact. Smile and respond pleasantly to small talk offered by your interviewer. Don’t take notes (just a pet peeve of mine), but be prepared to write down notes for information that you need to act on such as providing references, date and time of your next interview (anyway, you get the picture).
Once into the interview, you’ll want to be a good listener and show interest in the company and the open position. Of course, you should already be “plugged in” about the company and knowledgeable about the job title and job description in advance. It’s showing interest that is key. Consider the psychology: from the interviewer’s standpoint, he/she wants to make sure that you’re not going to be bored in the job or dislike doing the most menial of tasks or be overwhelmed by the most challenging pieces of the job. The interviewer may be afraid of hiring someone who is a “9 to 5’er” and won’t readily be available for overtime. In order to make sure to avoid these issues, the interviewer may paint a fairly negative picture of the job to see if you are willing and able to do the less exciting parts of the job. It’s only when you convince your future boss that you are a hard worker that can take on challenges and will put in the time it takes, that he/she may open up about the more interesting and gratifying aspects of the job; i.e., once you’ve sold them on you, they will try to sell you on their job. If you are asked if you are interested in the job, say “yes.”
As long as you are:
Qualified for the position
Show strong interest
Convince the interviewer you are willing to do all aspects of the position
You will likely be looked upon favorably. And one last thing, make sure you have checked your calendar and worked out in your head when you can start a new job should you get one. You’ll want to have this answer at the ready should you be asked in the interview.
Just keep in mind, the decision regarding your candidacy is in the interviewer’s hands; your job is to get the offer. Only then will you be in a position to make a decision one way or the other. And that’s exactly the position you want to be in!
For more insight on this topic, check out this great article: Don’t emphasize your limits in job search
Jeanne Fiol is the co-founder and president of KNF&T Staffing Resources. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org