Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grabbing Control of the Outcome of Your Next Job Interview

One of the most common complaints about the job interview process is the feeling of a lack of control over the outcome. Most people do not enjoy the fact that their career "fate" is at the hands of a random group of questions. I would like to discuss the 4 factors that go into determining your success in an interview. I think you will be surprised to find out just how much control you actually have over your own success.

Factor #1 - Packaging
This factor contributes an estimated 40% in determining how successful you will be in an interview. Packaging is your image, your non-verbal communication, and how well you sell the fact that you are the right candidate for the job. Dress professionally, control your body language, and ensure you demonstrate how you will embrace the company's culture to gain control of this factor.

Factor #2 - Responsiveness
This factor also contributes an estimated 40% to your successful outcome. Responsiveness is all about how you answer the questions you are asked. Do you talk for 15 minutes without ever answering the question? Did you come unprepared with no research on the company or the job? These are examples of how you can lose control over an interview. However, if you prepare for the interview in advance as these articles suggest, how well you respond the questions is completely within your control.

Factor #3 - Qualifications
Believe it or not, once you get to the interview stage, qualifications only represent an estimated 10% of your success. Make no mistake, your qualifications are critical to being invited for an interview. However, the interview process is more about emotions - do you fit in with the team, do they like you, do they think they can work with you, etc. - than about qualifications. You can't control your qualifications today. However, you can make a conscious effort to improve your qualifications by the types of positions, training, or education your pursue in the future.

Factor #4 - "Other" items
This elusive "other" category is completely beyond the scope of our control. Take comfort in the fact that it only accounts for about 10% of your success. Items that may fit in this category: they hired their nephew instead of you, they did not mesh well with your personality, or you reminded them of their ex-girlfriend and the wound was too fresh to even consider hiring you.

Don't waste your time and energy focusing on those things outside of your control, instead focus on Packaging and Responsivness. These two factors - upon which you can have a direct impact - represent as much as 80% of your success in the interview.

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