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10 Things Strong Interview Candidates Do That Make Them Get Hired Every Time

10 Things Strong Interview Candidates Do That Make Them Get Hired Every Time
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Why does it seem like some people have all the luck when it comes to landing a job? They apply for a job and get calls. They interview for a job and get hired. Yet, maybe for you it doesn’t seem so easy, although it never really is when you’re the one looking for a new job. The person who always gets offered the job makes it look so easy. But the truth is that it’s the hard work and preparation that happens before the interview that makes the difference.  If you really want to know the secret that strong interview candidates possess, here’s a list of the important things they do to get hired.

1. They understand their personal brand.

A great candidate believes that they are a brand. You should know what makes you unique and why you are the best candidate for the job. Having a strong personal brand means that you are clear on the value that you add to a company and portray your unique selling proposition (USP) in every way.

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2. They research the company.

Research is key when it comes to doing well in an interview. Be sure to know enough about the company you are interviewing for, so that you can both answer and ask specific questions. Nothing is more impressive than a candidate who has done their research. You should know the company’s CEO, competitors, and any current newsworthy topics. You will not only impress the interviewer, but you will also be prepared to address questions beyond your resume if asked.

3. They prepare the night before.

It sounds so rudimentary, but what a difference preparation makes. It’s tough doing your research and performing on game day. Give yourself the best start by having everything you need ready the night before the interview. Get your clothes ready, print out multiple copies of your resume, directions to the interview, and anything else you may need. Lastly, make sure you get a good night’s rest, so that you feel refreshed in the morning and can get a head start without feeling stressed or rushed.

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4. They dress the part.

The way you carry yourself is an important part of making a good impression at the interview.  You can have all the skills in the world, but if you are not professionally dressed, it will detract from what you have to offer. It can sometimes be confusing to know what to wear, especially since the dress code for a lot of companies is getting more relaxed. But if you are being interviewed, you should still come wearing your Sunday’s best. If you’re not sure what to wear, err on the side of being overdressed rather than under dressed. Once you get hired you can gauge what kind of attire best suits your environment.

 5. They exude confidence.

There’s nothing like showing up to an interview with confidence. Interviewers go through more resumes than they’d like to, so this is the time to add a face to your work experience. In addition to looking at your skills, an interviewer is also checking to see if your personality would be a good fit for the role. If you’re not comfortable talking about yourself, how will you be confident trying to relay information to others? When you are confident, you also let the interviewer in on how you handle stressful situations, since interviewing for a job isn’t easy.

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6. They perfect their elevator pitch.

Your elevator pitch is a summary of your career and personal brand. It will come in handy when your interviewer asks you to talk about your career. Think of a clever and interesting way to summarize your experience that will capture the interviewer’s attention. Try using different ways to express your brand attributes, which are adjectives used to describe yourself. Instead of using words like “excellent communicator,” “problem-solver,” or “team player,” craft a pitch that speaks to those attributes naturally.

7. They tell good stories related to past experiences.

The key to capturing your listener’s attention is through great story telling. Use relevant stories and metaphors to talk about your past experiences. A great story will relay your strengths to the interviewer and show how you solved a problem. Make sure it’s focused, concise, and demonstrates examples of why you would be great for the role.

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8. They observe the interviewer’s body language.

A strong interviewer is a master communicator. They are not only good at expressing their ideas and asking the right questions, but they also take cues well. Be mindful of the interviewer’s body language as they ask questions. If they seem to lose interest in your answer, maybe you need to get to the point quicker or ask for clarification to better answer the question. Observing the interviewer’s body language is a great way to gauge how you’re doing, which will enable you to make tweaks based on their communication style.

9. They ask about the company goals.

Being clear on the company’s goal does two things: it shows you’re interested in delivering results and confirms if their goals match the direction you would like to pursue. It’s important to show the interviewer that you’re thinking beyond just getting hired. Asking about the company’s goals and future is a great way to show how you can be a part of their vision.

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10. They follow-up with a thank you letter.

Yes, thank you letters still matter. Some may say it’s a thing of the past, but it’s still an important part of closing the deal. When you send a thank you letter, it confirms to the interviewer that you are interested in the position. Don’t forget: it’s not just about the formalities of thanking the interviewer for their time, it’s also about reinforcing your skills.  A good thank you letter should include key points from the interview and link them to your ability to hit the ground running.

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Marietta Gentles Crawford

Speaker | Personal Brand Strategist

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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