However, not everyone is cut out to provide stellar performance in the pressure chamber of an interview. Even for the best candidates, a moment in the spotlight can give them a sense of stage fright.
The first lesson in nailing an interview is to know exactly what hiring managers look for in a candidate. Yes, there can be literally hundreds of details—from wardrobe choices to resume format—and a nervous applicant could easily bog down with any one of them. Keep in mind the old saying, “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Stick to the basics, and improve your chances of getting the job.
In preparing for a career-making audition, a few things should certainly top the list. Five things hiring managers really look for:
Can You Do The Job?
Not surprisingly, the entire hiring process rests on this simple premise. Can the candidate do the job? In the excitement of making this far in the hiring process—past the initial application, telephone screening and resume submission—many candidates fail to ask themselves this fundamental question. Carefully examine the requirements of the position—it should be part the preparation for the interview—and be prepared to explain clearly how you can do the job.
Are You Who You Say You Are?
An effective resume tells a story—of past accomplishments, education and strengths; it does not reveal who you actually are. The interview is an opportunity to rise above a piece of paper (or electronic file). If a resume is inflated, embellished or puffed-up, it will become apparent in a face-to-face meeting. In sales, the cardinal rule is “never overpromise and under deliver.” The interview is exactly the same.
Studies have shown that potential for the future trumps past accomplishments when judging a candidate for a job. Expressing confidence and the sense of “the best is yet to come” could be enough to get a candidate over the top, and into the position.
Are You A Good Fit?
Every company has a way of doing business, beyond what is in the employee manual—commonly referred to as “corporate culture.” If you are a leisurely person, then you might have difficulty in a formal suit-and-tie office. It is like forcing an oval peg in a round hole; it is close, but not enough to be ideal. For many job seekers, a casual atmosphere would be a welcome change of pace, just make sure you can perform in that environment. Again, researching the company prior to meeting with the hiring manager is critical to identifying the corporate culture.
Are you a team player?
Collaboration is a skill that is necessary; responsibility rarely rests on someone who cannot work well with others. This also plays into the corporate culture—will a candidate’s unique style overshadow the expectations of the team or will their contribution elevate the entire group? Mavericks may have a role in the office, but without the support of others, it could be conflict that could lead to problems.
Can we trust you?
Skills and experience are the key traits in a new hire, but trust (or the lack of it) can be a quick deal breaker. Is a candidate trustworthy and believable? Hiring managers look for the right person, someone they can depend on to perform the job functions, or conduct the business. Even the best jobs have complex, difficult or even mundane tasks; employees must be relied on to fulfill those tasks, no matter what. Of course, it takes time to build the groundwork for trust, but in the interview, a first impression of trustworthiness is crucial—without it, your chances are zilch.
Although hiring managers and human resources professionals rely on these five traits make a hiring decision, they are certainly not the only things they look for.
What the best traits you look for in a candidate? Let us know!