Saturday, June 30, 2012

When Does the Job Interview Truly Begin?

On the surface, this may seem like a silly question. Of course the interview begins once you sit down to talk with your potential employer, right? Not really; the interview truly begins much earlier. If you don't pay attention to these key details before you even start the interview, it may make no difference how much you prepare for the questions you are asked.

Quite honestly, the interview begins the moment you submit your application for employment and does not end until you receive the job offer. Here are some details you may not have thought of before.

  • Manage your first impressions. As a candidate, our resume usually makes the first impression for us. Ensure your resume is professional, compelling, and clearly states the value you can offer an employer.
  • Every contact you have with the employer makes an impression. Proactively manage all the impressions an employer has of you from the very start. Things such as an error-free resume, a professionally addressed cover letter, and even the paper you choose (when mailing or hand delivering the resume) can make a difference for you.
  • Think about the impression you will be making when the potential employer calls you. Don't answer your phone in a noisy environment such as in the car with your three kids laughing and screaming in the background or in a busy restaurant.
  • The employer will happily leave a voice mail - as long as your voice mail greeting is professional and appropriate. Turn off the musical ringtone and take your kids singing "Old MacDonald" off your voice mail until you receive that job offer.
  • Be polite to EVERYONE you meet once you arrive for the interview. The parking attendant, the door man, and the receptionist are often asked for their opinion of how you treated them before a hiring decision is made. Make sure they have nothing but positive things to say about your courtesy and professionalism.
  • Wait patiently in the lobby. Sit up straight, don't pace, don't talk on the phone, and don't chew gum. You never know who may be watching you while you wait to see if you are nervous or unprofessional.

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