By Keith Lechwar, Vice President of Operations
The Job Interview is a reality program airing on Wednesdays at 10p on CNBC where actual companies bring in 5 real candidates for final interviews for a position with their company. Tough questions and bad answers make for entertaining TV, but our goal as a recruiting firm is to guide you through those difficult questions and unexpected situations with real-world advice.
This week, CSI Search Executive Recruiter Kara O’Donoghue and I talk about two specific moments from Episode 7 and give our advice. (Check out our video blog here)
Lesson #1 – Making a Good First Impression
Few things kill an opportunity more than a bad first impression in an interview. Let’s face it; you are likely in the room because you have the necessary qualifications for the job. If you blow it with a bad first impression in the first 2 minutes, you will spend the rest of the interview fighting to get back to where you were at least before the interview started.
There are the basics do’s and don’ts that I won’t spend too much time on such as showing up early and dressing the part. When in doubt arrive early and overdress. Plain and Simple.
Some other less discussed keys to creating a good first impression include:
1. Being friendly and positive to EVERYONE – “Begin in a Friendly Way”. The old Dale Carnegie adage holds true here. And, I’m not talking about the interviewer. I am referring to the security guard downstairs, the woman you share an elevator with on the way up and most importantly, the receptionist. It’s not uncommon for a manager to ask the receptionist about their own first impressions on a candidate in the waiting room. After all, many of them excel at creating good first impressions as the face and voice of the company to customers and prospects! They should know! Furthermore, being pleasant, positive and making small talk is perfect practice before your interview is great practice for the interview room! See this clip of receptionists from the show talk about how to make a good first impression.
2. The No Phone Zone – We all live by our mobile phones and a waiting room would certainly be the natural place to catch up on emails, check up on Facebook, etc. I urge you to resist the temptation. Use the time to think through answers, take a few deep breaths and be ready for that door to open. You want to be ready to pounce when your time comes (See #3), not fumbling with putting your phone away.
3. Be the Aggressor – Cut through the stress and uncertainty and make the first move. Eye contact, a smile and a firm handshake is an easy way to show confidence (even if the butterflies are running rampant inside).
Lesson #2 – You ARE in Customer Service
No matter what position you are interviewing for, at some point on the job, most people have to deal with conflict with customers. During this episode, candidates were given a role play exercise, fielding a phone call from an unhappy customer. Again, you may never be in a position to have to take this type of call, but the interviewer wants to see your conflict resolutions skills and how you treat customers. It says a lot about your personality if you are able to apologize for the mistake, tell them how valuable they are to you and ensure them that you are looking into their issue right away.
An interviewer is often looking to see if you take the initiative, show sincerity and don’t attempt to just pass the issue on to another person or department.
As a candidate, you should love these opportunities. It really gives you an opportunity to show great soft skills to the interviewer. Time to knock it out of the park!
Contact Us to learn how we can help you fill that open position or find that perfect job opportunity. Or, let us know what you think! Respond with your feedback from the show!