Although, my daughter’s journey is just beginning and she might not understand fully what an INTERVIEW is, at four she is learning the HOW and WHY. She is expected to sit with her knees together, a daily struggle, and be able to look at others when they are talking. Because the reality is that each participant has only three to six minutes to make a lasting impression. To show them their confidence, to communicate their “WHY“, to give them their one and only “First Impression”.
We’ve all heard the story of the bright-eyed college graduate that showed up for a job interview in jeans, on their phone and with their mommy, right?! You might say “That’s absurd, who would do that?”, BUT unfortunately this IS our new reality. They haven’t been taught the fundamentals of working in the “REAL” world, they aren’t being taught the HOW and WHY. Their expectations are that of a world that owes them, a world where their needs are greater than those of others.
According to an article published online at CNBC the most common interview mistakes are inappropriate attire, inability to communicate and lack of research.
What you wear, it MATTERS
“You never get a second chance for a first impression”, it’s an age-old saying. BUT have you truly thought about what your “FIRST” impression is to others? Are you confident, strong, and independent? What you wear is important, it paints a picture of who you are.
We’ve all gone to the grocery store in our PJ’s and slippers at least once in our lives, and we’ve all had “one of those” days where you just didn’t want to make the effort. How did you feel those days, when you didn’t take the time? Did you FEEL confident? I don’t, I feel tired, I hurry in and hurry out, hoping that nobody sees me. If I don’t feel confident, then how will they see my confidence?
The KEY is communication
Eye contact, how many times have you found yourself wondering “where are they looking” as you watch their eyes drift off mid sentence, it’s distracting. How many times do you tell your toddler “look at me” when you are talking with them. Eye contact is everything, it’s a way of telling someone they have your FULL attention, that what they say matters.
Eye contact engages, it provokes a steady conversation, it is focused and undistracted.
Research, Research and MORE Research
“Why do you want to work for me”, it’s a common question at an interview, one that I have been asked by multiple employers. “You have a great company” or “The job description sounded good”, common responses to that age-old question. Neither will get you the position when you are trying to land your “Dream” job, because neither really tell them your “WHY“. Research is a KEY component to being able to give them your “why”, AND it will give you instant credibility.
Employers want to know that you are committed to them. If they are going to take the time to research YOU, they want that same courtesy in return. You get out what you put in, if you put the time into learning about them, they will take the time to learn about you.
Judges, much like employers, have only a few moments to get to know you. And in those moments it is your job to show them WHY you. Many will say “Beauty is Within”, I agree and I have written about here, but if you go to an interview unprepared in ripped jeans and a raggedy tee-shirt, they might not see that inner beauty and ALL your amazing qualities, because the reality is you only have moments to stand out and make the very BEST first impression. What will yours be? Will you be prepared?