I know that there are many people who are out of work right now or employed in positions that are below their abilities and this is a time when many could use some advise for finding gainful employment. I’ve been pointed and sarcastic in this article however, I mean every word and I know that for those who are willing to put in the necessary effort it is only a matter of time before you land on your feet.
If you want to up your odds of getting more offers or the job or your dreams than you need to read this article! You are going to have to put aside any prejudices that you may have about who I am because they are only going to blur your vision. I am a professional sales trainer who has been involved in business to business (corporate) sales for most of my adult life. I tell people who attend my training programs all the time, “If you are good at what you do then your customers will realize it and you will be getting anywhere from two to ten job offers a month depending on how active you are and the industry that you work in. In professional selling every sales appointment is a job interview and getting the deal is a seal of approval that you did your job effectively. If you are interviewing for positions that you are qualified for and not getting any second interviews or offers here are some key considerations for improving your odds and closing the deal!
Are you presentable and appropriately dressed, accessorized and made up for the role you are applying for? If you look like a geek or a freak, a nerd out a social outcast then clean up your act! Unless you are looking for a circus/side show job or you’re applying to be a mad scientist then your appearance better be polished and appropriately professional. I know that I’m being a little extreme however, the point is there are many people in this world who need some image consulting because they haven’t got a clue and further more they haven’t got a clue that they haven’t got a clue! You are going to be judged on your physical appearance including your clothing, clothing style, colours and the decade from which you added to your wardrobe. In addition your grooming and personal hygiene better be up to par! If you’ve never been trained on this you better find some suitable information and educate yourself otherwise your wasting your time going on all those interviews! Chances are you’re not even making it past the first thirty seconds before you are discounted.
In sales we say people buy from people they like. In the hunt for a job, I believe that people hire people that they like! Who would hire someone thinking you’re crude or perfectly obnoxious for the position unless they were replacing Howard Stern? Therefore the question is, are you likeable? How are your social skills, can you competently hold your own in a conversation without going overboard and making people feel weird? Once again this article isn’t intended to be a fix all. If you know that you are socially awkward, nervous or uncomfortable with people then you need to educate yourself and learn how to develop those skills otherwise you’re going to have to settle for the job you have to take vs. the one that you really want. There are many books on people skills (I have a recommended reading list on my web site) that will help you like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Dig into your pocket, peel out a few dollars and invest in yourself or don’t either way you’ll pay it’s just that you’ll keep paying for staying the same.
Are you ready and prepared for the interview questions or do you just sit there with a dumb stupid look on your face when you’re asked the typical questions? Companies usually want to hire people who have some brain cells that are rubbing together and have the ability to formulate reasonable responses to questions in a timely manner. When you sit there looking surprised or unsure how to answer after being asked by the interviewer to describe your greatest strengths or most obvious weaknesses, it says something about your intelligence or lack thereof. Find a partner that you can practice with and get comfortable especially with the kinds of questions that you would expect to be asked. Communication skills and the ability to effectively get your point across in a timely manner are critical in any company or organization. If you can’t even speak freely and candidly about a topic that you should know as intimately as yourself then you are in big trouble brothers and sisters!
Don’t like homework or assignments? Too bad, you need to find out about the company that you are visiting by doing some research in advance. Go onto the internet and check out their web site also do a search to see what else you can learn about them on-line. If you’re not prepared to do some work ahead of time you will not be mentally prepared when you go for your interview. In addition, your unwillingness to invest some personal time to do your homework speaks volumes about your lack of work ethic, willingness to do due diligence and desire to find all the short cuts to success. People like to hire those who show some personal initiative, it indicates that you will do the same on the job. In addition you will show a lack of intelligence or indifference about the company you are interviewing with or the job you are being hired for.
Do you run in for your interview meetings at the last minute like a scatterbrained idiot? Showing up early sends a very positive message. First of all people who are hiring are putting their neck on the line for you and if you can’t even show up with reasonable time to spare for an interview that makes them nervous about your ability to make it on time once you are hired. Show them you are responsible and respectful. Get there ahead of schedule, give yourself an opportunity to become familiar with the surroundings, ask a few questions if possible and even do some further reading/research on the company. And for heavens sake if something does go wrong and you happen to be late don’t start making excuses that just makes you look even worse.
No one likes to resurrect the dead! Show an appropriate amount of energy and enthusiasm without being overly exuberant. In many cases when companies are hiring they are just as concerned or more concerned with attitude than they are with skills, knowledge or previous experience. Don’t take your personal problems or troubles along with you on the interview, leave that personal baggage at home or better yet send it on a one way flight to a foreign country. Are you happy? Then for goodness sakes, notify your face and smile! People want to know that you have a pulse, they don’t want to hire a zombie with a vacant look in their eyes and a mind numbing dullness about them. If you have no idea what I am referring to then you need to get a book or CD on the subject of positive mental attitude and then give yourself an enema!
Are you confident and is it obvious that you feel good and like yourself? This is a huge project all in itself and it’s not something that can be changed in a day. All I can tell you is that people respect and appreciate those who can look them in the eye and carry on a conversation with confidence. They like it when you aren’t afraid to ask an intelligent question or two rather than acting like you are on defense during the entire interview. It shows them that you can hold your own and that you don’t need to a baby sitter or someone to micro manage you. It gives the impression that you can do some thinking for yourself and can likely be trusted with some responsibility.
There’s a lot more to it than what I’ve written here however, this is a pretty good start! Now it’s up to you, if you want to get the job you want then you are going to have to work for it and that may require you to grow, stretch and make some personal changes. That’s what anyone who wants to win in life has to do otherwise they just end up being a coaster who settles for seconds. If you want to make this simple it comes down to understanding what companies and organizations are looking for most in a new hire and then delivering the goods right from the first interview! Best of luck in your employment search!
Marshall W. Northcott, Canada’s Sales Expert
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