By PAULA M. FARMER

Professionally speaking, the majority of my life has entailed my allegiance to the profession of human resources. Armed with over twenty-five years of expertise in all areas of HR, including but not limited to Talent Acquisition, and Organizational & Employee Development, I am sharing with you tips to help you navigate your next interview.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room…the interview questions. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of interview questions. They are a “Google” away. But you can almost be certain that this particular question will be asked. It’s not really a question, but here it is… “So, tell me about yourself.”

How do you answer that question? Here’s how:

  1. Start by talking about your current career. Highlight your accomplishments. Integrate numerical data, whenever you can. An example is, “I have increased productivity in my department 25% quarter over quarter.” Also highlight your leadership abilities.
  2. Next, share your prior to. You can make a big impact by clearly articulating how your past experiences, in previous jobs, led to the current one. An example is, “As a result of my previous experience as a team led, I was able to position myself to transfer those skills into my current role.”
  3. Finally, discuss what’s next. Take advantage of this moment to share why you are excited about this specific opportunity. An example may be, “One of the things I am most excited about concerning this opportunity is being able to make an impact based on my ability to think critically, problem solve, lead others in getting the work done and my experience with successfully managing and controlling costs.”

 

Think about and insert applicable examples. They are critical in telling your story.

Here are some other helpful tips. Implement these and your chances of making a memorable impression increase significantly.

Do Your Homework

  • Research. Research. Spend a few hours learning about the company. Check out the company’s website, social media pages, blogs, etc. Dig deep and be in the know.
  • Double-check the pertinent information. Make sure you have an accurate address, phone number, and contact no later than a few business days before your interview.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. If you feel rushed, you looked rushed.
  • Arrive and check-in at least 30 minutes prior to your interview. If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re “on time”, you’re late.

Dress It Up

  • Appropriate attire is always in season. You can not go wrong with being professionally conservative. Save the bulky jewelry and flashy attire for a more appropriate occasion.
  • Make sure your attire is cleaned, pressed and fits appropriately.
  • Shoes should be clean and polished. Nails should also be clean and manicured.

Be Confident, Considerate & Courageous

  • Confident. Body language says what your mouth does not.
  • Don’t stare, but make eye contact with whoever is speaking to you. Offer a firm, non-aggressive handshake. Don’t apply pressure. It’s not a ‘hand wrestle.’
  • Considerate. Stand to greet whoever escorts you from the waiting area to the location of the interview. When you enter the room of the actual interview, do not sit until instructed to do so. It’s part of the interview protocol.
  • Say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” as a courtesy.
  • Turn your cell phone off, or at least silence it before entering the building.
  • Courageous. See yourself in the position. As you walk up the stairs, take the elevator or enter the room, imagine what it will be like when you’re a part of the company. See it and seize it in your mind. Head up and shoulders back. 

Leave a Lasting Impression

  • Don’t forget to thank the interviewer(s) and anyone else you met.
  • Follow up with a ‘thank you’ email the day of the interview, as soon as possible.
  • If you really want to be memorable, send a handwritten thank-you card. Include something, with the content of your writing that the interviewer may have said. It’s worth the effort and could make the difference.

 

This is your year to Connect and build relationships through social media, meet-up groups and by way of existing relationships. The connection may result in your next career move.

It is critical to Commit to do more than ‘just enough.’ If you want to make an impression, you have to do what impressionable people do…go the extra mile.

And finally, this is the year of Change. Old paradigms don’t work in new eras just as old wine doesn’t work in new wineskin. Be the change you wish to see.

 

Paula Michelle is “The Bounce Back Coach!” As a seasoned human resources professional, Paula Michelle has spent over 20+ years helping people identify career, educational, personal and life goals. As a result of coaching with Paula Michelle, women from all walks of life gain the confidence and tools they need to stand in their genius. They experience transformation in their lives as they no longer settle for less than they can achieve. She loves empowering others to win!!!

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