By Phil Baker,
I just conducted a job interview for an account representative position we have open. As an employer, I want every person that shows up for an interview to be the one I hire. If you think about it, all the other interviews where applicants do not get the job are a waste of time for the employer. Yes I learn from everyone and enjoy meeting people, but a failed interview does not achieve my goal of filling a position.
I have reached a point in interviewing where I no longer work to disqualify candidates. I expect every person that walks in the door to be the perfect hire. After all, they are qualified on paper. Why do I set my expectations so high? I discovered a long time ago that my job is much easier if I let people eliminate themselves in a first interview. And guess what?! Time and time again job candidates eliminate themselves.
The number one mistake, made far more than any other, that disqualifies candidates in interviews is talking too much. Today was no exception. The third question I asked the first contender for our account representative position prompted a four minute response and he would have kept right on talking had I not cut him off. When I have let candidates talk without interrupting them I have seen some go on for as long as fifteen minutes- no joke.
As a candidate your answers must follow my “rule of one.” Never answer with a word when one syllable will do (yes or no.) Never answer with a sentence when you can answer with one word. Never say more than one sentence unless needed. And never answer any question with more than one short paragraph of three sentences. The only exceptions are when the interviewer asks you to expound or if you are asked test questions.
The second category job applicants violate is body language. Your interview is about behavior… your behavior. From the time you enter an employer’s property your behavior, body language and conduct is under strict scrutiny. One bad move, an unsuitable energy level, even seemingly innocent gestures can disqualify you from consideration for a job.
Just like there are “RED FLAGS” in the dating game, most employers have a long list of RED FLAGS about interview behavior. Many of these criteria often seem natural and acceptable. There is a very good chance if you have ever went to an interview and did not get the job, it was because you inadvertently sent out a RED FLAG and eliminated yourself.
Do you know what five body language signs indicate you are hiding something? Do you know what parts of your body you should never touch during an interview: besides the obvious ones? If you are a woman do you know what touching your hair during an interview says about you? If you’re a man do you know the seven seemingly natural movements that send up danger signs about you? Most people do not know the answers.
Small things such as your eye movement and what you look at can rule you out. I don’t like to pick on anyone but a gentleman I interviewed today could not keep his eyes off my female assistant even when I was talking to him and I had to repeat several questions twice. Needless to say he condemned himself.
Maintain eye contact with your interviewer and pay attention to what he or she is saying. Do not look at other people while they are talking, glance around the room, or look at the floor. Never read anything on the table or someone’s desk. When a candidate is reading any documents sitting on my desk I immediately rule them out.
The next area where candidates often strike out is in knowledge. Not knowledge about my company or the job; knowledge about themselves! A candidate in an interview today did not know the employment dates of his last job. I simply asked how long he had been there and he said two years (his resume states three and a half years!) Know your resume. If you know your resume and have most answers prepared, following the “rule of one” should be easy. Be prepared to answer interview questions especially the ones that the employer already has the answer to and so do you.
You must know what RED FLAGS you might be sending. After watching so many candidates eliminate themselves in interviews I wrote the bestselling job interview book: EMPLOYER SECRETS and How to Use Them to Get the Job and Pay You Want. This book has helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world get the jobs they want and can help you.
Hyoâ€™s Note â€“ Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator SoftwareÂ ProgramÂ (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com.Â Resume DictionaryÂ might just be the best, free resume resource site out there – jammed with great information and tips on getting your resume water tight and rocking.Â