Six Principal Tips for Interviewing Success

A few years ago, I wrote an article that appeared across the Internet and that I used on both my radio and TV show, entitled “Six Principal Tips for Interviewing Success.” As a result of recent comments about our TV show, and some of the email that I’ve received, it’s probably time to update some of that information and re-share it.   When your viewers ask for information, and trust your judgment, it’s time to share your knowledge and experience.

So here’s Tip # 1:   Approach any interview you’re doing in the right frame of mind.

In seminars, I’ve used this example of NOT being in the right frame of mind.  If on the way to the interview, you got pulled over by the Police and received a speeding ticket, I’d suggest that you call and reschedule the interview, because you’re probably not in the right frame of mind to represent yourself well.

Control your nerves. Be cool. Be calm. Be collected. You don’t want to go into an interview sweating. If you’re part of a group, you’ll want to show up before the interviewer calls your name. Get there 10 minutes early.   “Just in Time” is a method to control Inventory, not a method of Interviewing for a job.

Here’s Tip #2: Show your positive side. If an interviewer says, “Welcome. It’s very nice to meet you. Isn’t it a beautiful day outside today?” Agree with the interviewer. Greeted with that, and unless you’re a vampire and allergic to sunlight, it is probably a beautiful day outside. It may not be to your liking, but start off on the most positive note that you can. Don’t start off by saying, “Are you kidding me?   It’s probably the hottest summer I ever remember. And those storms we’ve been having! There really is global warming going on. I don’t care what anyone says.”

Lose.

Positive words and positive thoughts go a long way.

A) They let the interviewer know that you aren’t a grouch; that you don’t have a skewed view of the world and the events around you;

B) They convey that you might be a good team player because if you’re positive, you generally can work well with others;

C) They subliminally indicate to others that you will most likely contribute to a positive work environment.  A positive work environment makes all the difference in the world for all the employees in the business, no matter what business type we’re working in.

Tip # 3:   I always feel a bit strange about discussing this, but personal hygiene is important to getting a job.   Fresh breath and deodorant are important to those around you, so use toothpaste, mouthwash, and deodorant. Now, I’m not going to give tips on how to dress…that’s something you need to investigate before you show up in a suit, or a suit and tie, to interview for a job where everyone dresses casually. You have a sense of how to approach a business if you’ve done your homework. Just dress appropriately.

As for personal habits, I’d guess that presenting yourself for an interview while chewing gum isn’t good in most businesses. Or, dare I say, if you live in some areas of the world, chewing tobacco or coca weed. I interviewed a candidate some time ago on behalf of a client that showed up for a local management position with a big “chaw of tobacco” in his cheek. I didn’t hire him…not because of the tobacco, but because of what I thought about his lack of appropriateness of actions in an interview setting. If he did that in an interview, he’d make similar errors in judgment on the job, and I didn’t want the client to have to deal with those errors.

Tip # 4: You’re already at least halfway to the job. The important part is to understand that you’ve secured the interview, so you’ve cleared that first hurdle, and now—well, it’s time to show your stuff.  88% of employers are now using social media to scout a candidate. Read that again. 88%. You can’t escape your social media persona.   I make that point because any potential employer could find out more about me online than they could in any type of personal interview situation.

Everything that an employer wants to know about me, for example, can be discovered via Google, Linked In, and Twitter. Probably, you too.  Anyone can read my postings online by simply “googling” me. They can see events that I’ve attended from pictures that others have posted on Facebook or Instagram.  I don’t care if they auto-identify me in photos posted online, as long as the guy they auto-identify looks better, slimmer, and younger than I am!

They can read reviews of books I’ve written and to which I’ve contributed from Amazon.com, read comments from some of my past clients, comments from current co-workers on Linked In. They can see reviews on the quality of my work from both peers and from competitors. They don’t even have to meet me to get a fuller picture of me than any interview could probably offer. The in-person interview– as one headhunter told me years ago– is to see that I have five fingers on each hand, a nose on my face, and wouldn’t be offensive to others in representing the employer.

Another article online that I wrote about marketing is important to those completing interviews, too. I mentioned several things that shocked people.

Did you know that a potential employer can find out the average age and sex of your friends from Facebook, who your friends are from your social media connections, and how much money you make from doing a check via several online sites?  They can discover where you live, who you have hired to paint your house, plumb your toilet, or walk your dog from comments you may have made innocently, in trying to help someone else out?

If you have a shopper’s card at a grocery store, they may be able to find out what you spend for groceries on a weekly basis, and—yes—what type of bread you buy, whether you prefer Coke or Pepsi, and whether or not you adhere to the US Government’s Planned Guidelines for Daily Food Groups. If you have a shopper’s card at a drug store, your entire history of purchases may be available for purchase. Taking some type of medication that you’d rather not have the world know about? Sorry, because it’s information available at a price.

What can be asked in an interview is one thing, and what can be investigated online is something else, entirely. Whether or not negative information is used against a candidate and he or she is prohibited from a job, based on online information, is still out for discussion.  Legally, it’s clear that it either can’t or shouldn’t be used, but is it?  Employers will argue that they have the right to learn as much as possible about potential employees.  The higher you are in the company, the more important information becomes.

Let’s share Tip #5.   What’s “out there” in the online world is there. You can’t erase it or make it go away, in most cases, so just know what’s out there, and be ready to talk about it, if need be.  If there are photos that should be scrubbed, maybe it’s time to do that.  If you’ve posted pictures that are inappropriate, it might be time to get rid of them.  And if it’s not brought up, it’s probably not an issue. So don’t make it one. Be sure to focus on positive chemistry with the Interviewer. Smile.

Tip #6: Ask intelligent questions.

Asking sincere and interesting questions is one of the fastest ways to impress and help an interviewer decide “you’re the one for this job.”   And…be sure to show the employer how you would bring value to the job. They’re looking for leadership ability, the ability to fit into the current group in the work area, and what you can bring to the job in terms of revenue and profit growth. Be prepared to discuss those facts.

And if the interviewer asks you any questions like “what kind of animal would you like to be, if you could be an animal?”—remember there are two answers. A wolf– the better to eat up the competition, and either a wombat or a mongoose. Few in the USA know what a wombat is or what a mongoose is good for, so you’re safe with either of those answers.

Have fun during your interview process, no matter how desperate you may feel about getting a job. If you don’t get this one, you’ll get another one. Trust me. There you have the Six Principal Tips for Interviewing Success.

If you have others, I’d love to hear from you at aguinn@theguinnconsultancygroup.com or text or ring me at 800-335-9269 or direct at 917-224-6782.   And let me know how your interview went. If you got the job, I’d love to hear what you thought about the interview and what helped you “seal the deal.”

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