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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

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.

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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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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