4 Unexpected Dos And Donts To Nailing Your Next Interview

It's a jungle out there

MOST POPULAR

Obviously, you've researched the employer. Obviously, you've practiced answers to questions you know will be asked. Obviously you've printed out five copies of your résumé to take with you. And obviously you have your own questions ready (not too many!). Here are a few other things you should be doing to ensure you nail your next interview:

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Do: Practice Answers To Questions You Hope Aren't Asked:

Talking about the positives is easy. Talking about the negative or the difficult or the hard-to-explain is not so easy. I have no idea what questions are tricky for you, but if you're honest with yourself, it's easy to figure out your own pressure points. Here are a few I hope an interviewer never asks me again. 

1. Can you tell me a little about yourself? (The worst) This is a tough one because it forces you to distill your entire existence into a 30-second or so response. But what if we change this to 'What do you for in your free time?' which is more likely to be asked. It's best to answer with something as specific as possible—​say, you're a professional-level miniature figurine painter—​which will help you stand out as a singular person. (Specificity is a virtue for professional questions, too.)

MOST POPULAR

2. Why did you leave, or why are you willing to leave, a place that seems a really great place to work? This is really important. All interviewers—especially recruiters—want to gather information about other organizations while ostensibly asking about your career. It just adds to their mental file on competitors. Also, your satisfaction/dissatisfaction with your current employer (and your reasons for being satisfied or dissatisfied) allow the interviewer to better understand how hungry you are for the job they might offer you. ​​The important thing to remember is that the prospective employer should be at the core of your responses—even if you're asked about your current employer. So, for instance, if you're asked why you'd want to leave your current job, you'd answer that, while you've enjoyed your time at your current job and have grown professionally there, this new opportunity presents the right kind of challenge for you right now in your career. Your answers should be marked by a mild obsession with the future. Like politicians do, you want to 'pivot' your responses toward the future and your prospective employer. Your answers should also be marked by generosity toward your current employer—even when discussing the fact that you're ready to leave. This demonstrates basic tact and discretion—qualities that an interviewer wants to see, even if it means you're not being entirely candid. 

3. What's your greatest weakness? (This is an awful question to ask someone—almost cruel. But it's good to have a response ready. And unlike most interview experts, I'd tell you that it is perfectly fine to answer with a negative that's actually a positive, such as: 'I'm too diligent.' 'I'm too detail-oriented.' 'I just work way too hard!' If you answer the question honestly—​'I procrastinate.' 'I sometimes lose my temper.' 'I enjoy eating apples in meetings.'—​you are only giving them a reason not to hire you. They have enough leverage already. Tell them you work too hard.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Do: Adjust Your Attitude…Slightly:

If you're an extroverted narcissist, congratulations! You don't need to adjust anything. For the rest of (you) us, it's important to make some adjustments.

People form impressions of you within milliseconds of seeing you for the first time, so it's important to selectively borrow a few qualities from the extroverts. Such as:

- Gregariousness

- Friendliness

- Assertiveness

- Agreeableness

Do Practice Your Entrance:

You know that thing where a character in a romantic comedy keeps repeating a greeting, like, 'Hi, nice to meet you!' 'Hi! Nice to MEET you.' Hi, nice to meet YOU'  and the camera pulls back and they're talking to their own reflection in the mirror?

You know how that's kind of clichéd and stupid?

Yeah, you should do that.

The most important thing is eye contact. Studies show that interview candidates who maintain a high level of eye contact are judged much more favorably than those who don't. Eye contact is a crucial determinant of interview success.

As I write in my new book, Works Well With Others: 'A shift in gaze can indicate personal discomfort, uncertainty, lack of control. People who are in control and feel confident and fluent about the subject being discussed tend to maintain eye contact. The gaze is crucial—during interviews, keeping eye contact at least half the time will make you seem more competent and confident. Look at yourself in the mirror and hold your gaze for a second before glancing away. Now do it for five seconds. You will trust the second version of you more than the first. You will feel more comfortable with that version. You may wink at it even. The important part is that you will like yourself the longer you gaze. (But not too long. There's a fine line between gazing and staring and an even finer line between staring and menacing. The line between menacing and freaking people out is even finer.)'

So look people in the eye. Before you shake their hands, before you smile even.

Don't: Practice 'Selling Yourself' Too Much:

It's important to tell the actual story of your career. It's OK to be candid. If you're right for the job, that story's next chapter will be the job the interviewer is trying to fill. Jobs aren't always to be gotten.Jobs are to be matched to. The biggest flameouts I've ever seen are people who were one person during their interview and a different person once they were in the job.

Do: Purchase A Set Of Thank You Notes So That You Can Write One And Mail It Right After Your Interview Is Over:

The handwritten thank you note is an emblem of contemplative thoughtfulness in a hurried time. It will be received with gratitude—especially if you mention a very specific point they brought up during the conversation—and it will reinforce what they already think: that you're fantastic. Obviously.

From: ELLE.com

Read Next: