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In the job world, the moments you don’t think often play an important role. There is plenty of competition for the best jobs. When a number of candidates share the same level of technical strengths and suitable experience needed for the job, more weight is given to each candidate’s interpersonal skills and the general way they conduct themselves.
Here are four ways to ensure you are aligning your words and actions.
When asked if you can attend an interview during a workday beware the offhand remark. Saying, “Sure, I’ll make up something for my manager” or joking about creating a doctor’s appointment could run up a red flag. A potential employer will see the way you treat your existing employer as an indicator of how you will treat their organisation if you get hired.
Accommodating interview times whether by phone, Skype or in person can be tricky. Most people conjure up a health appointment or family commitment so they can attend an interview. You may feel entitled to duck out given your record of providing hours of unpaid overtime to your organisation but that won’t impress a potential employer.
Some candidates only focus on the moment when they meet their possible boss. However, this moment may never come if you fail to treat everybody else with the same respect and interest you want to demonstrate in the interview. Be aware that any person you deal with may be involved in the decision-making process. This could be, for example, your recruiter or the receptionist. Even an employee who brings you a glass of water or a potential team member who shows you the premises could influence the decision. Everyone may be asked about his/her impression of you or express it proactively.
Small talk is about building rapport. Think about suitable topics in advance and avoid controversial, gloomy and negative ones.
Interviews by Skype and video link are increasingly common in this busy world, so ensuring everything “in frame” reinforces the great stuff you’re saying is vital.
Therefore, it should be a matter of course that you dress as you would in a personal interview. Make sure everything around you is tidy and that no personal things, such as dishes or laundry, are visible. If working documents or other confidential papers (such as bank statements) lie around, this will make you look careless and unprofessional. Furthermore, think carefully about whether your interviewer should see which book you are currently reading.
Dress the set appropriately and keep it uncluttered so the interviewer focuses on what you have to say.
Always be professional with e-mails and messages. There is no point in investing hours in your cover letter and CV but writing casual, misleading or unprofessional messages.
Make good use of the subject line of your e-mail so that the recipient directly knows what it is about. For example, name the job title and the keywords "Appointment for interview" or "My references". Moreover, use a suitable form of address, i.e. "Dear Mr XXX" or "Good morning Ms XXX". Always make sure that the names are correctly spelled. Don't be too relaxed chatting about everything and anything. Nicknames, like in "Hi mate", are also inappropriate.
When looking for a job, your actions and interactions must always reflect the image you want to convey. Always keep that in mind. Even if you don't get the job, you have at least made a good impression. Who knows, it may be useful again later.