BFF- Its not what you think. We are talking interviewing!! And we are talking Best Foot Forward!!! Read on for Tips and Tricks for putting your Best Foot Forward during the interview process.
Great news! You’ve been called in for an interview. You are one step closer to getting the position. And more great news. There are tangible things you can do to increase your chances of being offered the position. Read on.
Interviewers often have a question that requires you to “sell yourself”. This is an opportunity to spotlight your skills, strengths, special qualifications; often things that may not be found on your application or resume. This is your chance to really spotlight why you are the best candidate. Avoid selling yourself and elevating yourself by putting others down. This leaves interviewers wondering if this is your Best Foot Forward as you introduce negativity. Interviewers don’t want to invite negativity into their organization.
For candidates already employed by the organization, this certainly can be awkward. There are pitfalls to avoid.
Never sell yourself as the best candidate based on how many years you have been at the organization. Although company loyalty is valuable, it is essential to identify the professional experience, skills, and strengths you have and the accomplishments you have achieved. “Putting time in” is not what potential employers are looking for.
Let’s talk acronyms. Do use acronyms that are commonplace in your field if that’s the field you’re interviewing for. If you do not know the full term that the acronym abbreviates, the interview is not the place to try to recall it. Interviewers take note when a candidate is stumbling to recall what the letters in the abbreviation stand for, especially when the candidate initiated their “self test” by playing recall during the interview.
Always always always ask questions when interviewers open it up for this. People who have no questions look as though they are not prepared, haven’t been paying attention, know everything, or just are not curious or interested. It only takes a few moments to google questions on the Internet. Also, usually something comes up during the interview that you’re wanting more clarification about. Be sure to bring a notepad to jot these down, as nervousness tends to strip your memory.
Bring at least 3 copies of your resume, even if you have sent it in with your application. If you’ve been called in for an interview, rely on your preparation to ensure interviewers have all the information you want them to have. Also, if you are bringing a resume, be sure that it is a finished copy- i.e., has your current position on it, is stapled together, and is in neat condition. It is counterproductive to present a resume that you have to explain to the interviewers that doesn’t have your current position, is wrinkled because it was at the bottom of your bag, and comes across the table in two or three stages with the various pages not put together.
Always bring a note pad and pen or pencil. Going to an interview empty-handed, or worse, with only you’re fresh tall iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, can be perceived as casual and under-prepared. Grab the note pad and skip the drink, or at least consider a bottled water off to the side.
Stay focused with your answers. Rambling unfocused answers that may or may not hit on what was asked leave the interviewer wondering about your focus, attention, organization- all qualities employers are looking for in an employee. All parts of the answer should relate back to the question in a fairly clear way and should provide an answer to the question.
Use “I” statements while answering questions posed to you. This demonstrates examples of your view, your work, about you. “People should ” talk does not clarify that this is your practice and view of the work. Own it with “I”.
Certainly have your thoughts and opinions, owned with “I” statements. Never argue or debate with an interviewer. Remember, Best Foot Forward. Demonstrating you are an argumentative employee will send potential employers running the other way, no matter how much experience and/or education you have.
When asked the reason for leaving on an application, be honest and be tactful. Writing reasons such as “Non-supportive management” or “lack of leadership” ends up reflecting on you. “Looking for a change, new challenge” likely is also an accurate way to reflect your reason for leaving. Never ever memorialize in writing something less than flattering about a former employer, former supervisor, or former colleague. This holds true for within the interview. A 10 minute presentation on the pitfalls of your previous employer’s policies, colleagues, managers, supervisors, and the like is a ship-sinker. We all have war stories. It’s just that the interview is not the place to tell them. Focus on what you bring to the table, your ideas, your perspective, your view of the work.
An interview is an amazing opportunity to sell yourself. If you are sitting across the table from the potential employer, you have already been selected as an individual they can envision in the position. Make the absolute best of this opportunity. And, always put your Best Foot Forward. They are expecting that.