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Show—Don’t Tell—Prospective Employers

Employers know that the way you job hunt is a good indicator of the way that you’ll work.  If you’re poorly groomed at the interview, you’re likely show up to work poorly groomed.  If you talk negatively about your last employer, they can already hear you talking negatively about them.  To shine in the eyes of prospective employers, do the following:

To prove to an employer that you’re thorough, thoroughly research the company you’re interviewing with.

To prove to an employer that you’re punctual, arrive on time and quickly send a follow-up thank you note.

To prove to an employer that you possess confidence and good character, extend a firm handshake.

To prove to an employer that you’re polite, don’t sit until you’re motioned to sit or offered a chair. If it’s a lunch meeting, don’t start eating until they do.

To prove that you’re detail-oriented, have 5 people edit your resume to eliminate any possibility of spelling or grammar errors.  Make sure your nails are clean and filed.  Wear shoes that are in good condition.

To prove that you’re a good communicator, talk during 50% of the interview and listen the other 50%.  Spend no more than 2 minutes answering any single question.

To prove that you’re a problem solver, answer interview questions using this simple  formula:

  • Goal—what was the objective of a project you worked on, a department you led, etc.
  • Obstacles—what made it challenging to accomplish the goal? The budget? Difficult people? A shortage of staff?
  • Solution—how did you overcome the challenge(s) to reach the goal?
  • Results (ideally in numbers)—at the end of the day, what did your efforts accomplish?

To prove that you take initiative, initiate some questions in the interview.

To prove that you get along well with others, treat everyone at the company you’re interviewing for with respect and make a point to specifically reference situations in your work history in which you worked with difficult people and accomplished great things anyway.   An hour-long interview is a brief window in which to get to know someone—and an ineffective way of gauging how well a person will mix with others.   Taking these steps will alleviate the prospective employer’s qualms about you’ll interact with their team.