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Interviewing 101: How To Showcase You Can Be The Linchpin

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Interviewing has changed a lot in the last few years. Thanks to the Internet, most interviewers already know a lot about you before you walk through the door. Even the process of interviewing has changed a lot, and you’re more likely than ever to go on half a dozen different types of interviews before you ever get a job offer or enter negotiations for freelance work. At every step in the process you have to showcase your ability to be the linchpin of the operation. This is someone who is endlessly resourceful, a great problem solver, and who excels in teamwork. It’s far more than just putting together a decent resume and showing up in a power suit. Interviewing skills can make or break your career.

You’re Going To Be Interviewing More Often Than Ever

Decades ago you might have gone on a handful of job interviews after college and eventually ended up taking the job that you would be in for the rest of your career. Today’s employees job hop every few years, and there can be a drastic difference between age groups. According to the latest statistics:

  • 20 to 24 year olds change jobs every 1.3 years
  • 25 to 34 year olds change jobs every 2.8 years
  • 35 to 44 year olds change jobs every 4.9 years
  • 45 to 54 year olds change jobs every 7.9 years
  • 55 to 64 year olds change jobs every 10.1 years
  • 65 and older change jobs every 10.3 years

Keeping current on your interviewing skills is essential to the continued success of your career. Even if you stay in your job longer than average it is still recommended by many experts that you go on a job interview at least once a year to keep your skills current. If you do change jobs at the average level, chances are you are going to be interviewing nonstop anyway.

How To Get Your Foot In The Door

Standing out from the crowd is harder than ever before. Piles of resumes come in for a single position, and oftentimes recruiters only look at them for about 30 seconds before making a decision. The first step in making yourself stand out is to build up your online reputation. Start by Googling yourself to see whether there is anything about you out there that could make your look bad to a potential employer and start working to do away with it. But what’s more important is building a positive reputation for yourself online to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Building your LinkedIn profile and using it well and often can go a long way toward showing employers that you are a solid choice. Connecting with folks in your industry and building relationships not only shows that you care about your career, it can also help get you a job interview.

You Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression

We all know that you are supposed to be early to a job interview, but how early is ok? We all know you’re supposed to “dress to impress” but what does that even mean anymore in a world where CEOs wear t-shirts and hoodies every day?

There’s a fine balance between underdoing it and overdoing it, and either direction could land you on the outside looking in. Some of the most common mistakes reported by recruiters include:

  • Talking negatively about yourself. It’s one thing to engage in a little self-deprecating humor, but when it crosses the line into something that shows a great lack of confidence in yourself, most recruiters aren’t going to give you a second look.
  • Being distracted. You should know by now not to check your phone every 5 minutes in an interview, but you should also avoid checking your watch repeatedly or asking what time it is repeatedly, as those things show you are waiting to get to someplace else and your focus isn’t on the task at hand.
  • Arriving too late or too early. Being late to something as important as a job interview is never a great thing, but it’s almost equally bad to show up too early. Never show up more than 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment, and five minutes early is the bare minimum.
  • Exaggerating your skills or personality. Employers want to know what they are getting themselves into, so exaggerating your abilities can land you in hot water. And recruiters tend to spot gross exaggerations right off the bat, so it’s best to be truthful.
  • Dressing too casually. Sure, Mark Zuckerberg shows up to Facebook every day in jeans and a hoodie, but that doesn’t mean you can show up to a job interview looking that way. It’s always better to overdress than to underdress.

It’s also important to remember there is a time for everything, like when to discuss pay and vacations, and that making disparaging remarks about someone or acting like you are too good for the job are serious issues.

Showcase Your Talents To Get Noticed

Showing off your ability to make pleasant small talk goes a lot further than you think. Social skills are the one thing that employers are looking for most – job skills are a lot easier to teach than people skills. Treating the receptionist well shows that you are a decent person, while showing enthusiasm for life shows that you are willing to learn and to grow as a person. Some of the things you do want to do in a job interview include:

  • Showing that you have researched the company before you show up. There is nothing more annoying than having a job candidate ask what this company does when they come in for an interview.
  • Show off your industry knowledge. Even if you are applying for an entry-level position, you need to show that you are passionate about the industry.
  • Showcase your glowing personality. No one wants to work with someone who is constantly negative or who has a hard time making conversation with their peers, so now is the time to show that you have enthusiasm for the job as well as great people skills.
  • Show that you are a doer. Is there something that needs to be done that no one else can do? Show that you are willing to learn how to do it. A can-do attitude can carry you a long way in your career and in your life.

Start Brushing Up On Your Interviewing Skills Now

In your lifetime you are bound to go on dozens of job interviews. Most jobs go through a lengthy process that can include six different types of interviews before you even get an offer. Combined with the fact you are going to likely change jobs at least 12-15 times over the course of your career, your best chance at building a strong career comes from keeping your interviewing skills up to date.

Things change and you have to have skills that reflect that, and even in the last decade interviewing has changed significantly. Learn more about how to showcase that you can be the linchpin from this infographic. Your career trajectory depends on it!
Job Interview Tips
Source: Human Resources MBA

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