Many job seekers worry too much about the interview and forget the fact that for any well paying, interesting job, there is going to be a plethora of other interviewers reaching for the same goal and the same career aspirations as they are.
As of early 2011, it is still a buyer’s market and you, the job seeker, are going to have to focus on being more appealing and coming across as more intelligent and knowledgeable than the numerous candidates going for the same job.
By no means should you spend an abundance of time thinking about the other people who are applying for the job, nor should you let them intimidate you. However, you should be cognisant of the fact that you have to beat them.
To further assist you with this matter, below you will find a few good ways to stand out in a positive and memorable way upon actively pursuing a position.
Don’t Rely On Your Past Success or Big-Name University Degree
Running a recruiting firm, I consistently have job seekers argue that they can command a higher base salary because of a MBA or a name degree, whether it be a bachelor’s or master’s degree (or higher). This is far from the truth.
America’s colleges no longer control the job market. 30 years ago, a Yale graduate could walk right into Goldman Sachs, kick up his feet and ask where his secretary and coffee was. Not any more.
Whether we are talking about a MBA or some other advanced or named degree, that piece of paper only says to most employers that your IQ may be a little higher, but I have seen both a U.C. Berkeley grad and a MIT grad who were very personable and whom I liked a lot, be turned down for even an initial interview with my client. The rejection had nothing to do with the salary demands of the candidates, either.
I did disagree with this and strongly voiced my concern to the client, but in the end, I was not the one writing the checks to pay their salary.
The point is that you can now be very competitive with these individuals if you keep a good head on your shoulders, stay confident and strive to be the best in your industry.
Dress Very Nicely – Which Means Wearing A Suit
One of the biggest persuasion factors when interviewing or doing any type of business is dress. Basic persuasion tactics would also teach you to dress 10% nicer than the person with whom you are meeting. Of course, you can’t know ahead of time exactly what your interviewer will wear, but some research on the company and industry should allow you to make an educated guess.
I see many job seekers recklessly spend money on career coaches and resume writers, though I rarely see many investing in a nice suit and, if applicable, a very nice tie.
Unless you are interviewing at a company that wears sweats, or possibly an entertainment firm, always wear a suit. Buying more economically for day-to-day dress is one thing, but you must think of your interview “uniform” as a real investment in your career path.
Regarding jewelry, at a minimum, you should always wear your watch or a necklace or other. The old assumption still holds, though, that whatever your jewelry or accessories, they should be subdued, not distracting.
People may claim that they are not attracted nor swayed by someone in a nice suit, but income statistics of people who dress nicely and are well groomed would greatly disagree. Like it or not, this is more prominent for female job seekers, but it applies to men as well.
Have a Resume That Will Guide the Employer
The basics of a good resume are written about all the time. However, what many resume writers and job seekers fail to acknowledge is that a resume should serve as a guidance tool for the interviewer and should be set up to the point where the job seeker can actively anticipate the questions that are going to be asked.
Ken Sundheim runs KAS Placement an executive search firm based in New York City.