Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview dozens of candidates for internships and volunteer opportunities. Many of these unpaid potentials were turned down because I was simply not persuaded by their abilities to perform my assignments or work well with my team.
Now, if I’m turning down people who want to work for free, imagine how easy it is for employers to turn down possible suitors with a paycheck dangling over their heads.
From my experience as an interviewer, there are a few key things needed to seal the deal during an interview.
Get Personal – Employers like to know that they are entering into a business relationship with a human and not a robot. Have a little personality by sharing a few anecdotal stories about past experiences in life that pertain to the position.
This type of personal touch will remain in the heads of employers far after the credentials on your resume.
Be Professional, but not formal – Keeping in line with the humanistic characteristic, don’t be overly formal. Allow the dialogue to be respectful; however, don’t make yourself seem low-leveled.
Employers feel confident in working with individuals who can be a part of their leadership teams and not a mere subordinate.
Do your research – You could have been on fourteen thousand interviews in a matter of months, but when you speak to the Director at this particular job, you better know their exact mission, the uniqueness about their product or service and why they created it.
The less an employer has to tell you about what the company does, the more assured they will feel in having you represent the company when they are not around.
Show admiration – Employers like to feel important. Thus, it is always nice to hear why you think what they are doing is impacting society for the better. Even if they’re manufacturing low-rate copy machines for small businesses, make it seem like they’re creating a cure for cancer or feeding little starving babies across the globe.
In this competitive job market, a little shameless schmoozing can go a long way.
Be available – If someone is paying you to work for them, the last thing they care about is everything else you have going on. While its great to have hobbies and interests, too much detail about outside projects only makes the employer wonder how much time you’ll have to complete their work.
The more open your schedule seems, the better.
Add Value – The most important thing you can do to seal a position is letting the employer know how you will be an asset to their company. If they explain your duties and ask if you have any previous experience in those areas, reach… dig… expand what you’ve done on previous occasions to make it sound remotely relevant to what they would like you to do.
Although some jobs offer training, ideally, employers want to hire someone with current knowledge of the tasks at hand.