Is there a formula in order for you to nail a dream career?
Most people come to interviews unprepared. Most of the time, their money and efforts are spent in preparation for the chance to have an interview meeting with a prospective employer while little or no preparation at all is done for the actual interview.
I have known a lot of professionals who spend an incredible amount of time in the preparation of their resumes and even make a considerable investment to have their resumes prepared by skilled professionals so as to increase their probabilities of getting the interviews from their target employers.
However, many of them seem to forget the essential things that should be given importance and priority. They exert most of their efforts on the superficial things instead of making sure that their interview skills are fine tuned.
I’m addressing all the job seekers through this article which encompasses 25 years of collective business experience and wisdom encapsulated into one piece of advice: “Don’t prepare for the interview, IF you don’t want the JOB!”
Did you get the sarcasm?
Being invited by an employer for an interview is not your ultimate goal; candidate interview is only one of several steps along the way and the second to last step of the overall employment process.
None the less, it must be given due significance and preparation. It is actually considered as one of the most crucial stages of your application process.
Nailing a job interview is usually the beacon in landing that target job offer. To be considered as the best candidate among all the interviewees will typically result in the candidate landing that much coveted employment.
Though the importance of preparing for an interview is apparent, many professionals make the mistake of undermining the interview during the job search process.
Amazingly, the same mistake was repeated by well-educated, highly skilled and well-practiced professionals who expect different results or outcomes from candidate interviews. They often treat the interview as something that is a forgone conclusion.
By some means, the confusion arises from thinking that the interview is the same as the job offer. Well, I’m here to share with those who might be reading this article that the aforementioned concept is WRONG!
This misconception may forfeit your chance of landing your dream job. I’ve outlined below the critical errors committed by most job seekers.
So, if your goal is not landing the job of your dreams, then all you have to do is to refer to the list and make the same critical errors. I promise you a consistent application of the below checklist will result in the probability of landing your dream job quite unlikely or even nil.
With the intensity of competition among job seekers and the fastidious screening process, far more interviews are being lost than won.
There will be things that will work to your advantage in an interview, but, on the other hand, there will be things that will absolutely kill your chances.
I listed in this article some of the prevalent mistakes to avoid if you wish for that job. Your probability of successfully completing an interview and winning the job vastly improves if you will avoid doing what others do.
1. Not preparing before the interview.
This is the single biggest mistake you can possibly make when looking for an employment. As always said, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
There exists a direct correlation between preparation for an interview and performance during an interview. Many professionals are going to their interviews ill-equipped and unprepared but expecting to make the right impression.
Needless to say, these professionals are walking away from the interview without their job offers. Unfortunately, they will get the same outcome unless they learn their lessons.
Good preparation includes doing intensive research on your prospective company and job so that you’ll have a background about the company and what it has in store for you.
Know your competencies and match your skills with the job requirements so that you can exude your strong points and present during the interview why you are fit to the post they seek to fill.
Have something to bring on their table; that will make you more welcome. Take time to prepare and practice so you will be able to answer any question thrown at you without stuttering and with utmost confidence.
2. Being passive and boring during the interview.
You’re not the one conducting the interview, but it doesn’t mean that you will be passive during the entire interview.
Note that it is during the duration of the interview that you can “sell” yourself for the position you are vying for. You have the spotlight so it is your time to shine! It’s your opportunity to show them what you got and prove that you are the best among all the candidates.
Many applicants have the incorrect notion that it’s up to the interviewer to figure out if they’re the best applicant. It is not the interviewer’s sole obligation to pull the information from you. Actually he is just facilitating the flow of the interview and it is your responsibility to make the interviewer aware of your capabilities and why you are the best candidate to fill the open position.
Your goal is to make sure that at the end of the interview, the interviewer is well aware of your qualifications and how you can make positive and powerful contributions in your new position.
Taking accountability of your behavior and accepting that you must convey your skills, experiences, talents and persona in the most positive manner changes the way you prepare and how you behave during the interview, thus separating your candidacy from the competition.
You will have the edge over your close rivals and competitors that are also vying for the same position.
Being passive during the interview preparation and during the actual interview often leads to the professionals to “wing it” during the interview process. The problem is, if that happens you are leaving your career to chance and letting the interviewer take control of the whole interview.
If the interviewers keep asking closed questions that are answerable by yes or no, expand your answers. If you want to be successful in an interview, you have to be proactive, assertive and dynamic.
It is always better to initiate than to adapt since with the former, you are more prepared and somehow in control of the situation. The interview is the starting gate of the competitive race where there’s only one winner.
You must think about what you need to speak and how you conduct yourself during the interview to be recognized as the best candidate to fill the position. What do the interviewers seek to find in a candidate? What responses do they want to get from the applicants? How can you be the candidate they will choose to fill the vacancy? Don’t linger on the thought of not preparing for the interview. Think it through and be prepared for all the possibilities so that you can outstage the other aspiring applicants.
You can try simulating the interview proper. There are a lot of sample questions and responses that you can find on the internet to facilitate your interview preparation. In that way, you’ll be more active and confident in answering the questions during your actual interview.
3. Not attempting to make a good first impression.
Why bother making a good first impression if you will always have a chance of making a second one? Absolutely wrong!
Indeed, life is a series of second chances but not in this case. The fact is, it only takes a small amount of time for the interviewers to gauge their first impression of you.
You only have ONE chance to make a first impression that is why it is called FIRST impression (caps lock for emphasis!). If you are successful in making a great first impression, the interviewers will automatically look for more of your strong points throughout the remainder of the interview in order to justify his/her first impression.
This is also true on the reverse. Making a bad first impression will make the interviewers look for bad things and weaknesses to justify their first impression.
It is either a win or lose situation; no “so-so” or in between. Your first impression must be great. You must start out strong and maintain the strength throughout the interview.
How to make a good first impression? Here are some of the tips for your indulgence.
Start by exuding confidence and professionalism. Begin by greeting the interviewers with confidence, personable attitude, and professional demeanor regardless of the formality or informality of their appearances during the interview process.
Maintain your strength by nailing the first couple of questions and all the subsequent ones thrown out at you. Don’t let your confidence down if the interviewers ask difficult questions.
Those questions are actually the easiest to answer if you have prepared well for the interview. Usually, one of the most challenging questions asked during interviews is this: “Tell me about yourself.” Often this four-word question is considered as the most important question asked during an interview.
Consequently, the question becomes the most important one you need to respond to properly. I had spared a tip for you: avoid giving answers that are already obvious or already included in your resume.
As much as possible, make sure that you match your skills and knowledge with the job description and focus on your strong points. Your response should mention your qualities that make you the most suitable candidate for the job.
Don’t forget to give concrete examples to support your answers. Give it your best shot! Answer it like you are in an interview portion of a pageant. C’mon! It is your big opportunity to grab that crown.
And if you are not yet aware of this, the interview portion has the biggest weight among all the criteria in every pageant and usually the one who takes home the crown is the one who gave the most remarkable answer.
Another red flag to watch out for during an interview is when you are asked about your weakness. Give an example that you think would not gravely affect your viability for the position. It should be a petty weakness and don’t forget to mention how you managed and dealt with it in such a way that it is not affecting your performance and productivity.
4. Not knowing your value
It is important that you know your value relative to your prospective employer and be able to articulate it concisely, professionally and intelligently during the interview.
It takes good verbal and non-verbal communication skills in order to do so. There are several ways to improve your communication skills in an interview.
First is by preparing yourself by knowing your value, memorializing it through documentation and practicing it consistently. Secondly, ask for help from a professional and qualified recruiter or career coach.
Finally, reflect on yourself and your value and practice your delivery. Don’t make a script to memorize so it will not appear scripted during the actual interview.
It will also do you good if you practice in front of the mirror so you will know how to project yourself. Ease yourself from tensions and smile so your thoughts will just flow out spontaneously.
You will have a higher chance of being ahead of the competition than your other fellow candidates as they will most likely stutter while answering the interview questions.
The interviewers will remember you as the coherent, articulate and intelligent candidate who was able to clearly express and support his viability for the job.
They will remember your strong points and qualifications over your competitors.
5. Not knowing how to deal with “under-qualification”
There will always be a point where you can’t match your qualifications with some of the requirements of your desired job.
Sometimes you lack the industry experience, degree or specific accreditation that is specifically outlined in the job requirements and qualifications.
If you really want the job and feel that you are still qualified despite not reaching the requirements or even the lack thereof, this should not stop you from pursuing your dream job.
You just have to prepare to address it directly, honestly and with confidence.
Applicants who fall short of the required qualifications are the ones who are often screened out.
Not reaching the requirements or the lack thereof may be your weakness but if handled properly will not hinder you from getting the job offer. These “under-qualifications” be may be glaring to the interviewers but if you will be able to convince them that you have something to make up for it, then they will not have any reasons to make a big deal out of them.
Be poised and confident in convincing them that inspite of your “under-qualifications”, you can still perform the work your dream job requires from you.
In reference to the previous discussion on weaknesses, give an answer that will eliminate their doubt in your viability and you will have a high chance of landing that job based on what you have instead of screening you out because of what you lack.
Note that having a superior resume may help you out in getting the interview but it is futile if you lack the interviewing skills to land you on your dream job.
Invest in improving your interviewing skills, avoid making the aforementioned mistakes and strategize. Surely, you will eventually get your dream job offer.
Now that I had shared what I wish to impart, I will part by wishing you all success in your quest for your dream job.