Mills: The three Ps for job interviews

Prepare, polish and promote are three key ingredients to getting that new job.

Does the thought of a job interview start your heart pounding? If you’re like most people, interviews do not top your list of fun ways to spend your time.

Why is that? On the surface, it’s a good sign to be invited for an interview. That means you’ve made an impression on a potential employer who now wants to get to know you better.

I suspect that, like most people, you are nervous about job interviews because there are so many unknown factors involved that seem out of your control, like which questions will be asked, who you are competing with for the position, etc.

It may also be because it requires you to sell yourself convincingly.

The job interview process does not need to be anxiety producing.  Here are three things you can do that can help make the whole experience more comfortable—Prepare, Polish and Promote.

Prepare means finding out as much as you can about the potential employer and the job itself in advance. Gather information about the company’s business strategy, structure and operations.

Familiarizing yourself with these details will help you to understand how the potential job fits in to the bigger picture.

Also, if you are able to speak knowledgeably about the company, your interviewers will appreciate that you have taken the time to learn about them.

Speaking with enthusiasm about why you want to work for them will catch their attention even more.

Preparing also means gathering information about yourself for the interviewers. You may want to bring along an extra copies of your resume as well as other relevant documents like copies of degrees, diplomas and certificates, samples of your work and a list of employment references.

Next, polish yourself for the interview. You want to present a professional image so choose an appropriate outfit, make sure you are well groomed from head to toe and arrive odour free.

Deciding on what a suitable outfit is can be challenging. Dress in a way that reflects the general business attire of others who work there.

If you don’t have that kind of inside information, aim to strike a balance between dressing too formally and wearing overly casual outfits. The best choice is to wear simple clothes that are clean, pressed and well fitted.

Arriving odour free is important. Yes it means having good personal hygiene but it also means not wearing fragrances.

I can guarantee that if you show up with a ‘smell’ that can be detected before you sit down or one that lingers after you’ve left, you will leave a definite impression, and it won’t be a good one.

Finally, adopt a sales mindset. Promote yourself. The interview is your big chance to sell yourself. If you don’t do this part, how will the interviewers know why they should hire you? You need to convince them that you are the best person for the job.

Before the interview, take some time to write out key points that highlight your qualifications. List all the reasons why you believe you would be a great choice for the job, and include examples of your strengths in action.

Some of these should already be listed on your resume, but the interview is the time to elaborate on how your talents match the job requirements.

You may never be totally comfortable with self promotion but it may help to think of your answers to interview questions as factual highlights of your work experience, framed in a positive light. Just remember to keep your responses concise and relevant to the job.

The goal is to help the interviewers know you better and choose you over the others. If you follow these three simple tips I guarantee you will make a good impression.

Just do your best to stay focused and relaxed – you might find yourself actually enjoying your next interview experience a lot more.

Laurie Mills is a certified executive coach and human resource professional. Her company is Lighthouse Professional Development Consulting Services. The subject matter in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional advice.


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