Dale Carnegie said, “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident.” In a perfect world, your interviewer would have had plenty of time to read your cover letter; study your resume; check out your LinkedIn profile and even done a social media scan. In reality, everyone is extremely busy and hiring managers rarely see resumes until they are introduced to the candidate.
Prepare an elevator pitch, a 30-60 second business description of your expertise and why you are an ideal candidate for the position. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you communicate powerfully and with credibility. Avoid using fancy words and instead, practice a concise, compelling pitch that will intrigue and impress the interviewer. If you are a college graduate with limited work experience, share your collegiate successes. For example, if you led a major campus initiative or were a board member of a student group, show how your leadership resulted in success for the organization. Better yet, give an example of how your ingenuity enabled the overall group to overcome obstacles.
- Dress your best.
Dale Carnegie’s 19th Human Relations principle is, ‘Appeal to noble motives.’ You must dress professionally to be taken seriously and leave a lasting impression. According to a Science Daily study, participants were more likely to make judgments based solely on appearance when they had less time to make a decision. Your appearance should be polished as well as your cover letter, resume, etc. Even if attire requirements are stated as Business Casual, select the best outfit you possibly can and make sure you are well-groomed.
- Ask questions.
Asking questions is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have done your homework—what aspects of the hiring organization appeal to you and any questions about the company’s short and long—term goals. For example, if you are interviewing at a large retail clothing company that recently acquired a new brand, ask if there are plans to further diversify the overall brand offering. Your interest and curiosity speak volumes because they demonstrate your sincere hopes to contribute to the organization—not just secure a paycheck. Dale Carnegie’s 15th Win People to Your Way of Thinking principle is, ‘Let the other person do a great deal of the talking,’ because it demonstrates that that you are listening to understand vs. to respond.
- Give Thanks.
An easy way to leave a memorable and positive first impression is to ‘Give honest, sincere appreciation,’ –Dale Carnegie’s second Human Relations principle. When the interview ends, shake the person’s hand, even if it is for the second time. Use the person’s name and say that you appreciate their time and enjoyed meeting them.
Next, send a thank-you note within 24 hours. While an Accountemps survey revealed 87% of hiring managers view email as an appropriate way to express thanks after a job interview, you can differentiate yourself by sending a hand-written note. This is particularly important for formal organizations.
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