Originally authored by April Klimkiewicz at Bliss Evolution
Thinking about how to present yourself for an upcoming interview is daunting. There are a lot of factors that will influence if you get the offer or not, and there is a fine line between psyching yourself up and psyching yourself out.
Imagine the tables are turned and you’re the one making the hiring decisions. You’re in a position of determining whether the other person is presenting themselves properly for the job. What would you look for?
Let’s look at some different factors to get you thinking like the employer and then you’ll have a better idea of how to present yourself for your next interview.
I remember my parents telling my sisters and me (there are four of us!) to be on our best behavior when we were going to someone’s house. If we had something to eat, we were taught to clean up after ourselves. We were not allowed to put our feet up on their coffee table. We had to be on our best behavior.
It’s a similar idea to going in for an interview. What would best behavior look like to you if you were the employer?
Here are some ideas of what best behavior could look like:
If I were the employer, I would be more interested in someone who uses the time in the waiting room to go over their resume, notes, and questions rather than someone spending time on their phone.
If I were the employer, I would be more impressed with someone who treats everyone they meet with kindness and respect whether they are the person who answers phones, sweeps floors, or makes decisions.
If I were the employer, I would take kindly to a warm smile, a firm handshake, and understanding rather than abruptness if I were a few minutes late to the interview due to a prior meeting or work emergency.
Professionalism and class go a long way!
Thinking like the employer helps you determine the best course of action for you to take to be on your best behavior.
Qualities and Skills that Fit the Bill
Before your interview, take some time to think to yourself about the qualities, attributes, skills, you would be looking for in candidates if you were hiring for this position. Jot down what comes to mind, and start to create a picture of the perfect candidate for the job based on what you think would fit best.
Let’s look at some examples to illustrate this idea better. I’ll list the type of position first and follow it with a list of attributes that would fit that type of position.
B2B Sales: friendly, tech-savvy, outgoing, good at explaining and teaching, relaxed talking to new people
Content Writer: the excellent writer as demonstrated by a good cover letter and portfolio of work
Management: the ability to balance managing people and projects, communicative with higher-ups, motivational, leader
Brainstorming good qualities in general is a great first step, then you can fill in examples of times when you’ve shown these qualities.
Stand Out! For the Right Reasons
There are a million ways to stand out, and sometimes it’s because the applicant made the employer cringe. To avoid being that person, plan to stand out for the right reasons.
What would you think if someone showed up for a Bank Teller interview in jeans and a sweater? What about if someone showed up for a Cruise Ship Director position in that same attire? What about an IT position? For a bank, jeans and a sweater would be very casual, while it might not show enough personality for a Cruise Ship Director position (depending on the sweater!) For an IT position in a casual work environment, it might be the perfect thing to wear.
If you were the employer, what questions would you ask to help you get to know the candidate best? Think about the types of answers that would help you lean in favor of one candidate over another.
Now, Put Yourself Back in Your Own Shoes
Sometimes, thinking about something from a different angle gives us just the key we need to unlock what we should say or do in a given situation. Now that you’ve thought like the employer and have some new ideas, it’s time to decide how you will incorporate this new perspective into the way you present yourself for your next interview.
Remember that employers are people, too. People just like you and me. Learn to think like one, and rock your next interview!