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4 Tips to Nail Your next Job Interview before You Even Enter the Room

4 Tips to Nail Your next Job Interview before You Even Enter the Room
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Would you like to be able to walk into an interview calmly and confidently?  What If I told you that through practice you can be the type of employee that exudes reliability and impresses all employers?

Having a successful job interview can be a life changing event. To achieve this you need to be properly prepared.

There are plenty of things to keep in mind during an interview. This article will focus on 4 tips for you to execute beforehand in order to make things easier on you. Keep in mind that in order to be successful at anything preparation, practice and hard work are your way to go.

1. Go into the job interview armed with 3 situation specific stories

An interview is actually a platform that gives you a chance to sell yourself to potential employers. If you’re not prepared with your best stats, accolades and stories off hand you’re going to have trouble making a lasting impression.

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It is almost a guaranteed fact that you will get asked the typical “what is your greatest strength and weakness?” question.  Even if you are not asked this question directly there will be an opportunity to go over what you’re good at and what you could improve on.

Greatest Strength

Your story about your greatest strength will deal with a positive attribute of yours. You will show how this attribute relates positivity to the position you’re interviewing for and show how it is only one of many reasons that you’re a valued employee.  Be sure to craft a story that shows off your experiences and wisdom and don’t be afraid to include volunteer work experiences here.

Greatest Weakness

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The second story will be about a weakness of yours or something that you could do better. Whatever weakness you go with make sure you sit down and take time to craft a story that shows how this weakness is actually a strength in disguise. Show how your weakness helps you in other areas of your work, talk about what you are doing to improve it and always end the story with something positive about you.

The Closer

The third story you need to be armed with is the most important: the closer. You’ll lay this one on the interviewer at the end of the interview to make sure that they remember you. This story should summarize the most impressive of your skills and attributes (the ones most relative to the position you’re applying for) and you should touch on what the company will be missing out on if they don’t hire you. Be as compelling and charming as you can at this point.

It is important that you take time to sit down and craft these stories as meticulously as possible. You are the person that knows your skills the best. Study yourself and your experiences so that you know what you have to offer and build a story on it. When you know exactly what you bring to the table you can establish leverage in the job interview or realize when you should take a step back.

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2. Do a trial transportation run the night before

In whatever way you are planning to get to the interview take a test run the night before. Time how long it takes you to get there and always add 10-15 minutes for traffic or unexpected delays. The night before is when you should be looking for potential shortcuts. Take time and look for possible alternate routes if there is a traffic hold up or something during the morning.

3. Research the company’s preferences

Do everything you can to get the scoop on potential employers before heading to an interview. The internet is a powerful source of information that can make your interview go a lot better with proper research. You want to look for things that you can do to make yourself more endearing to potential employers.

When looking up a company always be certain of what it is they do, what they sell and what they stand for. If you can align your skills with these 3 things potential employers will look at you in a better light.

Look up employee reviews to know what to expect going in, try and fish out what will impress the people in charge and the type of things they are looking for in an employee

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Some things to look up are:

  • The company mission statement
  • The dress code
  • The type of awards they give employees

Take the information gathered from the company’s preferences and the position you are applying for and use them to estimate the type of people they want

4. Lay your clothes out the night before

Save yourself trouble and pick out what you are wearing well in advance. Make sure all your clothes are properly ironed and that you don’t have any lint hanging around your clothes. When you wake up in the morning you’ll have one less thing to worry about and you’ll be able to get ready more effectively.

Don’t put your clothes on until you are ready to leave. Eat breakfast, gather your stuff and brush your teeth all before getting dressed – all it takes is one toothpaste stain to throw off your plans. Once you get dressed stay away from all liquids and foods and get a move on.

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Job interviews can and will be stressful if you are not properly prepared. Keep these tips in mind and always remember to leave yourself with enough time to get to the interview early. Being early doesn’t only mean getting there ahead of time. You will also need to take all the time you have before an interview to prepare in order to ensure your success. Follow these preparation tips beforehand so that you can enter interviews feeling calm, confident and excited for the opportunity that lays in front of you!

Featured photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor%E2%80%93patient_relationship via en.wikipedia.org

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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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