When you’re preparing for an important job interview, it’s easy enough to go through all of the standard steps. Take the time to learn about the company in advance, get a friend or loved one to ask you a few questions to practice before you go in, pick out an appropriate outfit and be sure that it’s well-fitted. However, it’s easier than you’d think to accidentally fall into the territory of mediocre interviewees, where individuals who aren’t great at interviewing wind up because of mistakes that they’ve made during the process. It’s crucially important that you take social interactions, emotional intelligence, and first impressions into account when you’re preparing for an important job interview.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of imaginary interviewees and how they approach the process – for better or for worse.
This individual arrives for their interview on time and well prepared. However, they may have a resume that is overly long or that focuses on irrelevant topics. In addition, during the interview they are overly talkative, chatty about personal topics, or ask multiple irrelevant questions. While it’s great to have social team members, sometimes overly talkative individuals can really create problems.
An interviewee like Suzie arrives on time and is well dressed, but there’s a serious disconnect between the person and the company’s culture. As they respond to questions, it appears that they’re just not very personable. For example, they may totally refuse to smile or laugh, even at casual statements or jokes. They may insist on being all business, or even seem as if they are judging others for not being all business, to the point of appearing arrogant. These individuals may have the chops to hold down the job, and may even be quite skilled, but they’ll also irritate their coworkers to the point that they may not be worth adding to the team.
This person arrives late for the interview and may not be well-prepared. They’re often under-dressed, wearing clothing that doesn’t fit the company’s culture or style. They often talk about topics that aren’t relevant, and they mumble or slouch in their seat. Instead of bringing extra copies of their resume, they may forget it entirely.
This interviewee listens well throughout the entire process, from the first call to the final interview. They are engaged with the interviewer and take the time to ask appropriate questions that are relevant to the process. In addition, they show up dressed for success, in an outfit that matches well with the company’s culture and values. They provide copies of a well-formatted resume for those in the interview room, and they participate in the process with ease.
As you plan for a job interview, take these profiles into account and think about which person you’d rather be more like. In today’s job market, interviews are becoming more important than ever. It’s not enough any longer to just show up on time and answer questions well, instead, you’ve also got to demonstrate clearly that you have a personality that will complement the team dynamic well.