If you are looking for a job it’s only natural to have a little anxiety or fear. Let’s face it. Even though unemployment is low, there are still hordes of people out there competing against you. And odds are high that at least some of them are more qualified than you are. As a result of that, some people go in to the interview with a defeatist attitude. Others try to do something really outside the box in order to command the interviewer’s attention.
Both of these approaches can be flawed. Being down during an interview is always a bad idea. You’ve got to pump yourself up (and I’m going to show you how to do that) if you want to inspire someone to give you a shot.
It’s hard enough to get your foot in the door. Once you are there you do want to get the interviewer to stand up and notice, but you have to be mindful about this and do it the right way. Let’s explore together.
I’ve interviewed job applicants for over 30 years and I’ve never had anyone pull any stunts but I’ve read about some real wacky approaches. One person suggested lighting their resume on fire to show the boss how much “burning desire” they had. Others sent cakes to their would-be employer – congratulating them on the new hire.
I think some of these stunts could work if you are applying for a sales job but even then I’d be careful. These are clearly tricks and unless you would do the same thing to wow a potential client of the firm, I’d suggest you stay away from these antics. They can make you look comical and not serious.
Stop Thinking About Yourself
It’s normal to think about your own needs – especially if you are out of a job. But your future boss doesn’t give a damn about your situation. He or she is interested in what you can do for the company and not what the company can do for you. Use that to your advantage.
Focus on the firm. Think about your boss. What do they need? What are their challenges? Focus on those things – not how much you need a job and how badly you need to make some coin. And don’t worry if you don’t have that much experience. You can still demonstrate your core skills and values during the interview. If you do this well, your interviewer will look past your thin resume.
Job interviews are very tricky. On the one hand, you need to give the interviewer the chance to understand who you are and what you can do for the company. On the other hand, you want to show that you are team player and not an egomaniac. To accomplish this, answer the questions you are asked but throw out a few questions of your own.
Just make sure you don’t focus your questions on pay and benefits. Ask smart questions about the industry and the business to show that you’ve done some research, understand the environment and most important, that you care about doing an excellent job.
Research the company and industry. Review the firm’s annual reports. Come up with at least 10 good questions to ask during your interview that prove you’ve done your homework and understand the situation.
I suggested above that you need to think about solving the company’s problems during the job interview – not your own. And you can’t do that unless you understand what those challenges are. As I said, I highly recommend that you discover this before you sit down for your interview.
In prepping for your interview, write down 5 of the biggest challenges this company faces and figure out how you are going to contribute to the solution. With that in mind, tailor your resume to demonstrate how you’ve done that before.
Remember, you will get the job if hiring you is the best way for the company to solve its problems. With this in mind, frame the answers you provide (and the questions you ask) in a way that demonstrate s that you have what the company is looking for.
- Does the company have a problem with sales? Tell them how you are going to help solve that.
- Does the company need to cut costs? Talk about your experience doing that for previous employers.
- Does the firm want to expand into a new and untapped markets? Show how you’ve researched and created new opportunities from scratch.
Would you hire yourself if you were in the boss’s chair? Why? List all the reasons why hiring you would be the best thing this company could do and why they will never regret it. And don’t be afraid to share your list.
This step will help build your self-confidence and it’s definitely going to shine through during your interview.
Don’t wait until you get into the waiting room to figure this stuff out. Come in prepared knowing not only what the company needs but how you are going to help them get what they need.
When it comes to getting a job you can beat out other people who are more qualified than you are. All you have to do is show that you care more about solving problems than any else the would-be employer is talking to.
Do your research, ask good questions and frame your answers to the questions you are asked in a way that proves you know what the company is facing and you are all about helping them solve those challenges.
What was the best job interview you ever had? What made it so successful? What else would you suggest other readers do?