You don’t need us to tell you how stressful the interview process is.
First of all, you’re essentially placed in a difficult scenario in which you have to convince a group of people you’ve never met before that they should give you a competitive salary every year in exchange for your professional talents.
As if the pressure isn’t on already, you also have a finite amount of time to convince the hiring team to bring you aboard. And, since your initial interview is typically just you, the hiring committee, and some copies of your resume, you pretty much have to speak anecdotally and hypothetically with regard to your talents, skills, and achievements.
Jeez, when you put it that way, it’s a wonder anyone is able to make a good impression during a job interview.
In all seriousness, though, there are a number of things you can do to ensure the value you literally bring to the table shines through in your next job interview.
Walk the Walk, Don’t Talk
One of the most common mistakes candidates make on resumes and during job interviews is they talk way too much about what they are, what they can do, what they have done…
But none of this is actually evident in their resume or during their interview.
As a rather silly example of what we mean, here, picture an interviewee, after being asked to discuss their strong suits, responding with “Well, umm, I guess you could say I’m a, uh, strong communicator.” Needless to say, their actions immediately discredited their claims.
But, if the individual were to take a breath, and calmly respond with something along the lines of, “Well, my former supervisor once told me he wished everyone was as easy to talk to as I am,” such a claim would immediately be backed up by its delivery.
Basically, when it comes to showcasing your value, as best you can:
Show, don’t tell.
When You Do Talk, Back It Up
Of course, there will be time (such as in the examples above) in which you will have to talk about yourself.
Whenever these moments arise, it’s essential that you have concrete evidence to back up your claims. You need to be able to trace your efforts to the positive outcome experienced by your company. It’s not enough to have simply “been a part of a team that” did x, y, and z; you need to be able to prove to your potential employers that the team would not have been able to accomplish these goals had it not been for your input.
If you can’t prove it, you might as well not bring it up in the first place.
Be Humbly Confident, Not Cocky
This last point underpins everything else we’ve talked about here today:
The last thing you want to do is come off as arrogant in front of your interviewers.
Now, this sounds pretty obvious at first—you’re probably picturing an overly-confident, somewhat smarmy individual right now.
The thing is, the confident/cocky scale definitely slides either way. That is, it is possible that what you believe comes off as radiating confidence is actually perceived as cocky arrogance in the eyes of your interviewers.
That being said, you want to be absolutely sure to shift the focus off of your skills, talents, and accomplishments, and instead shine the spotlight on what you can do for your potential new organization. The less you focus on what you can do, and more on why it matters to the company, the more valuable you’ll become in the eyes of your potential employer.
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