No matter how confident or well researched you are, nerves may always be a part of any interview. It is completely normal to feel nervous and in fact studies show that the more humane you come across the more you will demonstrate if you are right for the job.
Confident or not, here are some key points to consider when communicating which may make you shine above the rest….
Do your research
When meeting with a potential employer they will be interested to know how much you actually know about their company. You really should be able to understand their culture, growth plans, financial news and history. Knowing the headcount size isn’t really enough. Demonstrate that you have done your homework by reciting some facts and figures and show you understand their services/products.
Demonstrate your achievements
In today’s market employers are going to take their time in looking for the right person. With costs conscious businesses, investing in the best person for the job is key. You may be one of many attending an interview so ensure you stand out.
Being able to measure your success by examples will be more valuable than providing phrases, which tell the employer what you have done. If you feel that your management skills are a real strength, then you may wish to explain how you led a team and perhaps how they achieved high results compared to previous performances.
Promoting your skills
Your CV is a snapshot of your working history and credentials and it isn’t always possible to fit everything you have achieved on there. Even if you have taken a career break to raise your family you will probably have been acquiring skills along the way without even realising. For example, apart from working in a corporate environment, you will may be involved with groups at school, church, volunteering for organisations etc. They all require a level of skill when making a contribution, so remember what these are and have on you CV and on a list to hand when preparing for your interview. Again, if you haven’t a specific skill required for the job i.e systems, projects etc, think of a scenario to demonstrate a comparable example where you can confidently transfer the experience.
Smile and be positive!
Did you know, that a positive attitude and ability to smile, can often sway an employees decision to hire, even if there are candidates who have more skills for the job? In this climate, businesses need people they can rely on and are willing to add value to their role. If the role offers flexibility this is your chance to offer willingness and in return create a role that provides you with the balance you are looking for.
A recent survey carried out by Careerbuilder.co.uk found some very interesting findings when they questionned 100 UK businesses…
In a market which is so competitive employers are not only observing verbal communication of potential employees but behaviours and actions. Some of these will actually be considered when making a hiring decision.
Of the employers questioned, 83% said that lack of eye contact was an interview turnoff. This was followed by a weak handshake at 54%.
A real dislike from employers came when candidates crossed their arms over their chest. This was 41% of the employers thoughts followed by fidgeting with an object on a table which came in at 40%. Fidgeting with hair was 36%.
Additional feedback from employers which they considered a turnoff was bad posture, use of hand gestures and an overly strong handshake.
On a positive note if a potential employer had to compare candidates with similar skill-sets required for the role, then 34% said that they would chose the candidate with a sense of humour. This was considered a big factor. If you are well presented, then 28% of employer would offer you the job.
One final point to be aware of is dressing “too casual”. This is deemed a common complaint and tailoring yourself to the business you are interviewing for is a must.
The final research is summed up by Tony Roy – President of Career Builder EMEA “Employers are evaluating the whole package during job interviews and the non-verbal cues job candidates give can be very influential on the hiring decision”
If it has been some time since you have interviewed in the market or are considering another career avenue then perhaps ask trusted friends and family about your appearance and maybe run through some questions to gauge an opinion as to how you come across? Some honest and constructive feedback may help you get that job!
Oh, I remember this well….
Not long after baby number 1 was born I was already “dreading” the thought of work and quite adamant I wasn’t going back to my old job. The hours, the commute, the pressure, the “absolutely” non-flexible working policy and also the not fitting in anymore because I simply couldn’t go out and play after work – every night! This was several years ago and believe me you were expected to return quickly to the same job and carry on as if nothing had changed. Leave at 5, and you were not pulling your weight or “doing a half day”!.
It was time to move on and reinvent oneself….
Armed with super confidence (haven’t a clue were this came from) and a mission to work flexibly I re-entered the marketplace with full force and a new “identity”. Well not literally, just my bundle of joy in mind and my desire to balance the act. I charged into the City to find that job and had a list of opportunities to explore.
As I delivered presentations, sat through panel interviews I was getting closer to the “mum” subject and the questions to follow…..This was to be a challenge!
Demonstrating my skills and experience was easy but to think on my feet (erm, I am sure I left bits of brain at home!) and convince potential employers I could “juggle it all” was a real challenge. I hadn’t really considered how much my perception of work had changed and my ability to convince, reassure and demonstrate what a working mum does was pretty difficult. I hadn’t prepared for it and that awkward questions around “hours”? Back then home working was a relatively new feature in some jobs and this was to offer me the flexibility I yearned for.
Thankfully my experience assisted me well and I was offered a few of the positions but with a caveat outlining my availability as and when needed. It came with the territory.
What resonates now and didn’t then was how much my priorities had truly shifted and how I meticulously had to communicate this. Being from a sales background I leapt into my pitch with some ease, but had a steep step ahead of me to convince.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that I am sure we will all find our feet and our way but for me I hadn’t factored in that within such a short space of time I had changed and I wasn’t approaching my career the same as before….I now had to perform my working life with an added responsibility…a”baby” and if I was to keep my position and my head above water I had to start pedalling and HARD!