This is a guest post by our campus ambassador Jennifer Wagner from Purdue University.
I am sure there comes a point in everyone’s life where they have been in a situation where they did not know what to say, or how to act. Whether that was because you were in awkward company, or you were dealing with an emotionally distraught friend, or in an interview; everyone has been at a loss for words at one time or another.
Most people do not recognize their everyday mannerisms and disposition on a conscious level. Someone who is interviewing you for a position of your interest, however, does. He will be observing your body language, the way you present yourself, how you speak, your opinions, etc. All of these elements will be factored into whether the interviewer thinks this position is or is not for you. Essentially, the interviewer’s job is to try and find a way to read you as if you are an open book. And you do not want to give that person a reason to turn to the next page and move on; you want the interviewer to like, even want, what he sees. But how?
In my opinion, there are a few easy things you can do to ensure getting your foot in the door. After that, it’s up to you and your charming personality. But if you want something, then go for it and you can do it!
First, and foremost, it is most important to positively connect with the person who may hire you. Therefore, making a good impression is essential. Shake hands, make eye contact, dress appropriately, exude confidence, and be engaging with the person you are speaking with all show the interviewer that you are an excellent candidate for this position. And all before you even answer a question!
Secondly, always avoid using negative words when answering questions. For instance, using any sort of contraction in a statement such as: can’t, won’t, don’t, or couldn’t, may potentially give the interviewer the wrong impression of you. You want to be the problem solver, not the creator of issues. By avoiding negative words, you will come across as a strong and confident individual who, even in the face of an issue, will find a way to overcome the problem at hand.
Thirdly, do not be overly commutative with the interviewer. Believe it or not, your goal is to do everything in your power to give off the illusion and/or be what you think the interviewer is looking to hire. Therefore, a lot of candidates will not hesitate to answer any questions they are asked and, more than likely will answer past the maximum quota. There is nothing worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on... the interviewer does not need to know your entire life or any, unless asked directly, personal details. Keep your answers succinct and focused; do not ramble. Remember to just listen to the question, gather your thoughts, and then simply answer the question.
Lastly, be on time. Being tardy for a job interview tells your potential boss so many different things that you do not want him to think about you. The worst opinion that your potential boss may formulate is that you do not care enough to make an effort. However, emergencies do happen; therefore, in a situation such as that, call ahead and let him know why you may be late.