Careful Planning Makes The Most Of An Interview

Artist Michael Aliaga

It has become quite a popular statement to say that you have been out of work for over a —  (and then you state the time).  The statement does nothing to get you back to work.  It is a complaint statement and it keeps you right where you are — unemployed.

Unemployment!  Is It Possible to Get a Job These Days?  Sure it is!  While times are reported on the news to be hard, think about what’s going on in all thriving companies.  There is always constant turnover within any company.  Women and men make decisions to leave and become the center stronghold of their family life.  Others decide to work closer to home and family and relocate.   Yes, family is becoming a central decision-maker for most households and this may be a new result of the recession.  In other words, dreams of a bigger car, a bigger house, etc., is being replaced with dreams of a happy and healthy family.  Jobs are available.   Employees are people.  They get sick, have accidents, go on extended vacations, leave for greener pastures.  Every company has a human resource department for hiring new employees to replace the old.  They may try to get along with fewer employees but in the end they are required to employ replacements if they wish their business to grow.

Traditional ways to advertise their open position has changed dramatically.  Newspaper classified ads were replaced with internet classifieds.  Yet of late, employers are wary of placing an ad to see so many unprepared jobseekers.  The evolution of hiring may now focus more on promoting from within the company and then hiring new, entry-level employees.  These candidates need to prove they are assets not only to the task at hand, but to the harmony among the employees already present.  It is not uncommon for employees to recommend new candidates.  Employees know best the culture of the company and who will “fit in”.

  • When you get the interview make the most of it!  You get one chance to be yourself, your true self; you know, the one who is well-groomed, professional, warm, happy, attentive to the moment and centered.

Here’s some thoughts to get the job you want when an interview is offered to you!

I’ve worked in management one way or another most of my life.  The words of advice I am about to share with you is already known by you.  But something happens when you are the one without the job, asking to get inside.  You seem to leave all the common sense you possess at the door; all the successful experiences you have stacked up from raising children, keeping a roof over your family’s head, cooking the most magnificent meals, making the beds, paying the bills, teaching your children to drive, helping them toward college, not to mention your previous career experience.  I humbly but firmly offer these words:

Put all fears in their place!   

  • Listen to your thoughts as you begin to respond to an ad.  “I can do that!”, “Who am I kidding, I can’t do that.”, “They won’t want me, but I’ll try.  I’ll give it my best.”  So how are you going to put the fears aside? You are going to take a piece of paper and you are going to write down your immediate answers to this question:  How do you feel about this job?
  • You will probably begin by writing something like, “I’m excited!”, “This looks too good to be true”, but if you continue to persist, asking yourself over and over, How do you feel about this job, you will uncover your fears.  Believe me, if you keep writing a page or two, you will uncover your fears.  And, don’t you think it is better to locate your fears prior to your interview?  Yes.  That would be a grand idea!Fears do not come from the core of your being.  Fears live in a dark, “just beyond reality”, place and always disappears with light or what I would call awareness.  Once you put your fears on paper, you can see whether or not your fears are justified.For instance, if you are on craigslist.com and see a job for an IT person, but you don’t know how to send an email, then your fears may be justified.  If you think this sort of job is interesting, you may wish to research schools where you could learn about computers.   With another ad, you may see a job that announces a training program within a work environment.  You know you could meet the requirements.  Now you begin to write down how you feel about applying for this position.  You cannot merely wish that someone in human resources will discover you and your potentially wonderful talents.  Listen to your fears and sort out the ones that bring great emotion with them from the ones that are merely making statements.  For instance, “I can never do well in interviews!” is a fear that will help you fail every time even when it is a job that you could excel in.  “I’ve never used a computer in my life.  Why am I considering applying for an IT position”, is a sensible fear and because it does not bring about much emotion is somehow often overlooked.When you have totally exhausted your list of fears, (ask yourself the question at least ten times), you will begin to see how you really feel about this job.  If you have any defeating thoughts written, you need to address them before you even begin to prepare to go on an interview.
  • You don’t feel pretty/handsome enough to get this job.  Get a haircut.  Ask a friend to share some new looks with you.  And of course, everyone knows that when you are shining from within, you are always professionally beautiful.  Clothes matter.  If you are applying for a professional job, look the part.  It is not acceptable to wear old, shabby-looking clothes to an interview.  You need to look yourself in the mirror and be honest.  Are you projecting a professional man or woman?  Would you hire the person in the mirror?  Are you wearing clothes that suggest you are capable?  What is the costume you will wear that will tell your future employee that it is okay to hire you?
  • I’ve never had this position before.  What skills can you apply to this position?  Can you cite past experiences in your personal or career history that would make it possible for you to serve in this position?  The question is, are you confident that you can successfully function in this position?  It is not good enough to answer, “… because I want the job,” or “… because I’ll do my best.”  Really.  What does that mean to the person who is going to hire you?

Phrases that employers hear all the time and do not impress:

  • “I learn fast.”   Fast for you may not be fast for me.  Tell how you have reached your supervisor’s expectation, in fact surpassed their expectations in a consistent manner.  Offer to have them contact your supervisor to find out just how quickly tasks can be done and with what accuracy!  Smile.  Laugh.  Be confident!
  • “I will do my best.”  “Best” is a relative term.  Your best may not be as good as my best.  Too general.  Tell how you are known for doing your best.  Give examples.  Let the interviewer know you understand how important it is to give a consistently good performance at work.
  • “I am a big ‘people’ person.”  Your idea of service and my idea of service may not be the same.  So, give three examples of how you successfully have interacted with people.  Give one example with a co-worker, one example with your supervisor, and one with a customer, client or patient.
  • Never, never, never talk about your last employment in negative terms.  You may not have thought about it. While you are talking about that last boss who didn’t know what he was doing half the time, your interviewer is thinking “next”.  You have just told the interviewer that you are a complainer, a trouble maker, a person who won’t really work out until the attitude changes.

Once you’ve put your fears in their place, you will remove the artificial facade.

Remember, the person you are selling is yourself.  It is the same person who will be coming to work every day after you are hired.  Try to let your unique light out, your personality.   Your confidence comes from your heart, not from your brain.  So if you find yourself sweating, you are coming from your brain, not your heart!  Deal with your fears before your interview and you will succeed.  Good luck!

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