If you're reading this on a weekday, then by the end of this day, about 1,900,000 professional interviews will have taken place in offices and workplaces all over the United States. Some of these interviews will go well and some of them won't, but far, far too many of them will involve easily avoidable blunders on the candidate's side of the table…and most candidates won't even recognize these moves as blunders.
Do you fall into this category? During your next interview, make sure these five statements stay out of the script, and you'll increase your odds of making a professional impression.
Scenario 1: A Cheerful Greeting Wins the Day
Interviewer: "Welcome to QualCo! It's nice to meet you! Did you have any trouble finding the venue?"
Candidate: "Yes. I thought I would take route 405, but the traffic was bad, so I cut across using the bypass. But that didn't work because there was an accident—I think a truck flipped over. I thought I would be late, so I took the back roads from Hampton Street….etc."
Sometimes in a modern conversation, we have to choose between positivity and honesty, and it's not always an easy choice. But during the first 30 seconds of a job interview, this is a no brainer. As far as you're concerned, the traffic is light, the weather is beautiful, the world is full of sunshine and flowers, and you're very happy to be here.
Scenario 2: Step Up to the Podium
Interviewer: "Tell me something about yourself."
Candidate: "What would you like to know?"
Interviewer: "Anything at all."
Candidate: "You mean you want me to just talk about myself? I don't like talking about myself. What should I say?"
When your interviewer asks you to talk, take the stage and talk. Start by describing how you entered this industry. Then explain how your evolving interests and growing talents led you to this specific point in your career.
Scenario 3: Use Your Research
Interviewer: "What attracted you to this job and this company?"
Candidate: "Well…I need work. I mean, I have to be honest right?" (Nervous laughter).
Of course you need a job, but your interviewer already knows that. Use the information you gathered during your online research of the company and talk about why this organization, its culture and its mission are perfectly aligned with your needs.
Scenario 4: What Can You Contribute?
Interviewer: "What would you consider your strengths?"
Candidate: "I work hard and I'm a team player."
These two statements mean nothing to an experienced interviewer. They're not only clichés devoid of meaning, but they apply equally well to every candidate in the world. Replace them by launching into a discussion of your REAL strengths, the things you bring to the table that no other candidate can. For example: "I know you're about to release your new product line in south America, and my semester abroad in Brazil gave me some unique insights into the language and culture of your new target market."
Scenario 5: Turn the Tables
Interviewer: "Well that wraps things up on my end. Do you have any specific questions you'd like to ask me before we say goodbye?"
Make the most of this opportunity and ask at least two or three intelligent questions about the job and the company, questions that are relevant to the issues you've been discussing for the last 30 minutes.
To Execute a Great interview, Start with a Strong Resume
Before you sit down with your interviewer, you'll need to set the stage with a sharp, relevant, and beautifully laid out resume. Visit MyPerfectResume to start drafting your document and driving your job search forward.