How to be relevant in an interview
In a competitive and challenging environment with so many people applying for jobs, it would be helpful to know what human resource departments and hiring managers look for in a potential employee and what are some of the do's and don't s.
In an ever-evolving world of work, employers look forward to those who are creative and who think outside of the box. Remember, it is never a one size fits all scenario.
Although job seekers may have interview jitters, hiring managers undergo a lot of pressure, too. They are expected to select candidates with strong skills and experience while also being a good fit for the company's culture. They are also required to make a good judgement call, which is not easy when faced with a huge volume of applicants from which to select.
The hiring manager may follow up with you before the job interview itself to kick-start the interview process. Whether it's via phone or email, you need to be prepared and available.
This initial contact is a chance for the manager to screen you before the interview, so it is important that you make a good impression. If the hiring manager schedules a phone interview, be prepared and ready to give of your best.
Make sure that you have done thorough research on the company and the job that you are applying for. Have your resume in front of you and a list of references from whom you have got permission to be used as referees.
You should also have a list of relevant questions related to the job to ask the hiring manager. This will demonstrate your genuine interest and show that you are prepared.
As you prepare for your upcoming job interview, here are some do's and don't s to keep in mind that will help the hiring manager make a decision in your favour as well as some negatives to avoid:
- A well-presented resume with accurate and relevant information that speaks specifically to the position in the shortest most effective way possible.
- Wear clean, properly fitted, appropriate and professional attire.
- A good command of Standard English is desirable and also the ability to effectively communicate your thoughts over the phone and in person.
- Have a positive attitude, good manners, show respect.
- Be flexible, demonstrate a willingness to learn and to take constructive criticism.
- Arrive for the interview at least 15 minutes early. This would demonstrate good time management. This will also allow you to review notes, relax, focus on strong representation, send the right message, and observe the surroundings.
- Be prepared and properly informed about the company, the position, and show a genuine interest in the company and why you want to be part of it.
- Demonstrate the ability to organise, analyse, interpret, and make presentations, if required.
- Follow up not only with a thank-you note or card but also with what you learnt from the interview. If there is a question from the interview that you may not have known the answer to, a follow-up email with the answer shows how dedicated you are to completing a task.
- If the interviewer pointed out something you should include in your resume, update your resume and email it to them. This shows the ability to take guidance and act quickly.
Prove your interpersonal communication skills and be ready to answer any question regarding your experience working in a team or making decisions.
- Have ready examples for situational questions: "Tell me about a time when you had conflict with a member of your team or when you had to lead a project." Also be prepared to ask important and relevant questions that you would like to know about the position.
- Demonstrate excellent work ethics, strong values, willingness, and availability to work.
- Exhibit positive body language offer a firm handshake, always make eye contact when conversing, and be pleasant.
- A poorly presented resume that is inconsistent, full of errors, and offers irrelevant information is an absolute no.
- Inappropriate attire and poor grooming habits, including strong, overbearing fragrances, unkempt hands/hair, etc.
- Lack of respect for the interviewers, support staff, and their time.
- Limited knowledge on the company and position.
- Bad attitude, slandering past employers/boss, being a know-it-all, poor manners, and constantly being on your phone.
- Lack of confidentiality and unethical behaviour.
- Poor body language, for example, your posture, no eye contact, how you sit, and how you shake hands.
- Being loud, overbearing, and obnoxious.
- Poor representation on personal social media platforms. Be careful what you post there. It will stick with you for life.
- Being too familiar and displaying a lack of professionalism.
- Most of these traits, as you notice, are time tested and relevant, but at the same time, they need to be reiterated.
- Go with confidence and you will be successful.
- Laura Butler is a business and career development consultant with Fusion Consulting Jamaica. She serves as a consultant to some of the leading companies in Jamaica and has been a consultant to numerous leaders in the Caribbean and North America. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-427-2007.