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Interview tips beyond the usual

  • Stephanie Clark

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The Job Interview and the Role of Perception

Posted by Stephanie on March 18, 2012

I am an avid reader of Seth Godin, master marketer and prolific blogger (www.sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/).  In this morning’s blog he wrote: “The truth is that it’s what we perceive that matters, not what you bring to the table.”

Quite often what Mr. Godin writes is relatable to the job search, and even specifically the interview. This sentence is a great example of just that! Many interview gurus have expressed the same sentiment along these lines: “It’s not necessarily the most qualified person who lands the offer; the offer is extended to the person who interviews best.”

The interview team has a scant hour to ask questions, evaluate your answers, and go on to the next candidate. At the end of the process, their written notes jog their now saturated memories, and a decision is made. Chances are, if you made an excellent impression, and they perceived that you were top notch, they may have made a few notations to remind them of this. (I can see “YES!” or “impressive” occupying the margins of your resume. Remember that if you’ve been invited to an interview, you’ve already met or exceeded the criteria required and each of those being interviewed has roughly equal “billing,” so to speak. Remember too, that the interview team is looking for a “star” candidate; a tight race for “merely mediocre” may result in a renewed candidate search.)

The job search is not the time to lament “I am not articulate, I never liked public speaking, I don’t know what to say, I hate interviews,” at least not if you are serious about getting a job. Times are tough and the job search is highly competitive. If you need help, find it! Professionals who can coach you on creating excellent responses to typical questions are ready to serve. For those whose funds are tight, check out your local library’s career management titles.

How you are perceived in the interview impacts the interview team’s ultimate choice. Interview poorly, and no matter how many  skills, level of education, and years of experience you’ve amassed, you might just lose out to the person who brought fewer credentials to the table, but was prepared to dazzle the team with appropriate details of problems solved and real value brought to the table.

 

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