<img src="https://certify.alexametrics.com/atrk.gif?account=mZnsn1QolK1052" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

Ask A Career Coach – It’s All in How You Present Yourself

Depositphotos_4948570_xsCompanies don’t hire people. People hire people. They don’t hire resumes, cover letters or fancy business cards. They hire people who can add value.

How do you show a company you can add value? By marketing yourself, especially during your interview, to show that this company would be passing up a great opportunity if they did not hire you. Show off your accomplishments, your best assets and your personality, and do it in a way that makes you irresistible to the organization.

How you market yourself to your potential employer during the interview is the most important attribute according to recent statistics from The Society of Human Resources Management. It is the make or break moment where the hiring managers decide whether they think you could add value to their organization or not.

During your interview, it is understandable that you may already be nervous, but don’t let your nerves hinder you from putting your best foot forward. We would like to share an article we recently came across that shares some very helpful tips about how you present yourself in an interview. In her article, “Top Six Speech Habits to Avoid During a Job Interview,” Darlene Price from Well Said, Inc. discusses some great tips to remember (and avoid) before you go in for your interview. These habits could make the difference between you landing the position and you continuing your search.



By Darlene Price, Well Said Inc.

When you're aiming to nail the big job interview, how you speak is as important as how you look. You've got a polished professional image, an impressive résumé, and a list of solid references. But, have you prepared and practiced what you're actually going to say? Careless language could jeopardize your chance of winning the ideal job or well-earned promotion. Instead, make sure your verbal presentation clearly communicates, "Certainly I can!"  To ensure you sound as professional as you look, avoid these seven common interview pitfalls:

1. TMI - Too Much Information.

Avoid talking too much during the interview. In the business world, time is money. Bosses value employees who speak in a clear concise manner. By all means, be interesting and use a personable enthusiastic voice, but avoid rambling. Get to the bottom line quickly. As a general rule, keep your answers under one minute. If the interviewer wants you to expound on your answer, he or she can ask a follow-up question. This habit not only shows you're well prepared and succinct, it prevents you from dominating the conversation. It also allows time for the interviewer to ask more questions, stay engaged, and get to know you better.

2. Not tooting your own horn.

You can bet the candidates before and after you are selling their abilities; therefore, be sure you articulate your value. The primary purpose of a job interview is for the interviewer to fully understand your capabilities and professional worth. Are you a good fit for this position? Don't depend on a résumé or references to speak for you. Sell yourself. With every answer show a direct correlation between your skills and the job requirements. End the interview by saying, "Thank you for your consideration of me for this role. I'm confident I will meet and exceed your expectations." 

3. Sounding unprepared.

"Uh...wow...that's a great question. Hmmm...(Throat clear) I haven't really thought about that. Let's see, um, what are my strengths?" You can almost hear the interviewer thinking, "Next!" Anticipate likely interview questions. Craft your answers and be sure to rehearse them aloud. Practice at least three to five times prior to the interview, ideally to another person who can provide feedback. Record a few rehearsals. Listen to them, time your responses, and tweak your answers. Practice helps ensure you sound prepared, professional, and polished. Plus, being prepared is the very best way to minimize nerves and anxiety.

4. Badmouthing others.

Nothing tanks an interview faster than making negative comments about a previous employer and having the interviewer perceive "sour grapes." In addition to assessing capabilities, the interviewer is also assessing if you would be a good fit within the company culture, which usually seeks to provide a pleasant and positive work environment for employees. Avoid pessimism and negativity. Use language that conveys a positive attitude, camaraderie, team spirit, and helpfulness.

5. Using weak words and phrases.

A few of the most common culprits are "I might," "I'll try," "I think," "I can't," "I won't," "I hope," "Maybe," "Kind of," "Sort of," "Probably," and vague modifiers such as "A lot." Instead, replace these hesitant unconvincing words with power phrases such as, "I'm confident," "I believe," "I will," "I look forward to," "I can," "I'm convinced," "I recommend," "My goal is," "My track record shows."  

For example, don't say "I have lots of marketing experience where I tried to increase sales."  Instead assert, "I bring 15 years of experience in Sales & Marketing leading teams that increased sales by up to 30% per year."

6. Not asking questions.

During an interview, your questions say as much about you as your answers. When the interviewer asks, "Do you have any questions?" Don't say, "No." This implies a lack of confidence, preparation, or interest--none of which is appropriate for a job interview. Craft at least three to five open-ended genuine questions (not generic) about the industry, company, and position. Do your research ahead of time. Don't ask, "What exactly does this company do?"  Ask, "As the number one leader in the biotech industry with eight divisions worldwide, how would you describe this company's management style and the type of employee who makes a good fit?" An interview is a two-way street, and your questions help ensure there's a healthy flow of conversation. As a general rule, avoid asking about salary, benefits, or perks until the interviewer raises the topic.