Prepare to Compete: Top Interview Guidelines for Class Act Individuals
Steadfast and true, you are looking for work and, at last, you are scheduling interview appointments! Now is the time to get focused on helping yourself stand out and not stick out during an interview. Of course, there are the timeless interview guidelines that never go out of style, such as:
- Be on time
- Dress for the job you want
- Bring your resume in a leather portfolio
However, as an etiquette coach, it has been my experience that even these common sense “must knows” are forgotten or overlooked, which explains why career website and etiquette coaches continue to impress these class-act guidelines onto interview candidates.
There is more to the picture than “what is expected” from job candidates. Candidates need to ask themselves, “What can I do to rise above the rest while maintaining sincerity, honesty and respect?” Here are important success tips for assuring that you stand out in your interviews.
Be Happy to Be There! Be sincere in your appreciation for the opportunity to interview with the XYZ position and the XYZ Company. Smile, give a firm handshake and make eye contact with the interviewer. American employers are looking for leadership, confidence and poise in future candidates; these aforementioned first impression skills will help you to build rapport quickly, giving the interviewer an indication that you are likeable.
Dress for the Job. Too many times, people arrive underdressed which is a reflection of a person’s lack of attention to detail. Pull out what you are going to wear to the interview the day before. Make sure it’s clean, fits well, avoids showing too much skin and helps you feel confident in your choice. If you are unsure as what to wear, show leadership by asking the person responsible for booking your interview appointment what would be appropriate.
Get Real With Yourself. Take a tip from President Kennedy and ask not what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Offer strengths of your own that you hope may benefit the business you wish to join. Your strengths could include being efficient in solving problems with customers. Give the interviewer an example of a common customer service problem you’ve dealt with in the past and how you used your leadership skills to solve the problem in a manner that persuaded the customer to continue doing business with your company. Be able to share examples of how you overcame your weaknesses and how you’ve utilized your strengths in past jobs or projects. If your weakness is taking on too many projects and becoming overwhelmed, then stress that you keep and update a daily to-do list. Emphasize that you prioritize your tasks so the most important jobs are taken care of first.
Be Business Dining Etiquette Savvy! If you are applying for a position that requires you to interact with customers outside of the office, get comfortable with your table manners, and quick! People applying for outside sales positions may find themselves having an interview over a meal with important people. Your resume on paper is important, but what is taking place over steak and potatoes is an assessment of your ability to manage a business conversation while not grossing out the person across from you. Hire an etiquette coach to educate you on the fundamentals of business dining etiquette. A couple of mindless slip-ups at the table could cost you a job opportunity!
Say Thank You! Too often, gratitude is overlooked in the interview process. A letter of appreciation, printed on nice resume paper and mailed through the postal service will continue to raise your status as a class act individual. Avoid sending flowers, plants, cards or gifts for they can come across as “bribery”. Consider emailing the interviewer a “thank you” email as well, but this is not a substitute; mail a thank you letter too.
These tips are generated to set you up for success. Finding a job takes effort, perseverance and commitment. Be outstanding by knowing yourself and networking with people who believe in your strengths. Remember, American employers are in search of leaders, people like you who are in pursuit of the true American dream; success through self reliance and hard work!
Copyright 2011 Tiffany Nielsen. All Rights Reserved.
Tiffany Nielsen, President of Premier Etiquette and co author of the books Incredible Business and Power of Civility (May 2011), shows professionals, collegians and youth how to stand out and not stick out in business and social situations. Visit her website at www.tiffanynielsen.com to get her special report, access free resources and enroll in upcoming workshops!
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