Part 2: How to Impress Potential Employers
These days, it is more important than ever to impress a potential employer. In today’s job market, you need to make the most of every opportunity. But many job seekers commit common mistakes that can doom their chances, says Andrea Kay, career consultant and author of the upcoming book, “This is How to Get Your Next Job: An inside look at what employers really want.” This is the second part of our interview with Kay. (Read part 1 here.)
TOP: What’s something you should never do when job hunting?
Kay: I cover 15 of these "Don'ts" in the book. #12 refers to the job interview: Don't Be Uptight and Don't Try to Be Perfect. If people could just relax a little, interviews would be much less stressful and much more productive for everyone. For starters, it would help if you could stop thinking of an interview as a "sell job." It would take a lot of pressure off you. It's best to approach the interview as a conversation. Then you'd just be, well conversing. Not selling anything. Yes, you still have to be on your toes and not say anything stupid. But when you're uptight and trying to be nearly perfect, everyone feels uneasy. And that makes employers feel uneasy about you. Also, when you're truly conversing, you have a better chance of evaluating whether this is the right job for you as well.
TOP: What are some of the other things people say that don't help them in interviews?
Kay: They give yes or no answers. This does not make for particularly stimulating conversation. Employers want to know who you are. For example, when listening to the employer describe their company and the job, don't just say, "That sounds great." Be part of the conversation. Ask questions. Share how you did something similar before. Equally ineffective are people who respond to most everything with these "Wow!" equivalents: "Yeah, absolutely!" "Awesome!" "Sweet!" Totally!" These types of responses make it hard to gauge what you think. Interviewers want to understand you as a person. They told me over and over: "Be engaged!"
TOP: Any thoughts on how to keep your new job when you do get it?
Kay: Most likely, you'll be relieved and hope you can stay there as long as possible and to hold on tight to what you've got. But when you're focused on merely being employed, you're not thinking about what matters even more—both now and in the future—how to keep yourself employable. To do that, think about new ways you can apply your talents as your company and industry change. Keep a close watch on trends and how they affect your career. Every couple months ask yourself: What new skills and knowledge do I need? As things in the world change, what new services will our company need? Should I be thinking of a new specialty in my field to address those? Asking these questions often will help you stay valuable at your company and in your industry and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
Image courtesy of AndreaKay