It would be fabulous to sit across from someone and be able to read their mind. No game-playing, just the real deal of what they're looking for and whether they've decided you have it - or not. Luckily, you can prepare more than you realize.
A recent survey of 800 interviewers has shed some light on this important topic. Netquote also provided commentary around the process. Personal traits like creativity, so important to self-identity, aren't all that important to hiring managers. Let's take a look at what grabs their attention.
How Well Do You Deal with Conflict?
The question that means the most to hiring managers (69 percent of them) was "Tell me about a situation where you had to manage conflict." This is definitely a question that deserves considerable thought. Another favorite seemed to be relating how you learn from your mistakes. These seemingly innocuous questions cause interviewees to reflect and show their self-awareness.
This makes sense since your resume already speaks to what you've done from a work perspective. They are trying to weed out the selected pool to see who would be a good fit for the workplace. If you're a communicative, respectful, and self-aware person, you might find yourself getting the job without much of a battle. On the other hand, it might bring to light some character challenges you have to work on.
Your Previous Salary Doesn’t Matter
The fact is, the position has been budgeted long before you walk into the room. Managers occasionally go to bat to bring aboard someone they feel is a perfect fit, but in many cases, it simply doesn't matter what you made in your last position. Only 27 percent of survey participants rated it extremely important to know.
Further along in the hiring process, you will want to nail down your salary expectation, but that isn't something you have to talk about up front. For the first interview, put it out of your mind.
Unfortunately, employers don't think in terms of what your dream job is or what your interests are when you aren't working for them. There's always time to chat and get to know everybody after the fact. For the first face-to-face interview, it's more important to make it clear what you (and nobody else) can do for an organization.
What are Your Soft Skills?
Soft skills are defined as intangible traits that define how you interact with other people. A hard
Business leaders often hire for soft skills instead of hard ones. Knowing how to talk to people and make them feel welcome is a soft skill that you'll be able to use in any position and one that managers covet.
The interviewer is judging you from the moment you started the application and attached a CV or resume. Most of those interviewed said that a professional headshot on the resume left a negative perception. Although 24 percent liked it.
Artistic resumes got varying reactions. About 36 percent of hiring managers said it affected them negatively and 35 percent said positively. This often comes from job fields in technology, arts, entertainment, recreation, and marketing.
A long resume usually doesn't hurt your prospects to get the job and showcase all your skills under certain conditions. For those applying for research or academic positions, longer resumes may be needed to detail the nature of past publications and research efforts. Standard resumes are ideally one to two pages in length. Half of the hiring managers said a three-page resume was undesirable. So, unless you've got a Ph.D., be concise if you want to get on someone's good side and win a face-to-face meeting.
Watch What You Say
Conversational ticks are hard to get rid of, but you should do your best to pause before answering any question. That way, you're less likely to use filler words that make bosses cringe. The more common of these are:
- Things or stuff in any context
You are sitting there trying to show them you are an expert or expert-to-be in a field that they are an expert in as well. Use a little vocabulary. If you can do so without stumbling, throw in some jargon that shows you've done your research on their company. A word of caution: buzzwords like “low-hanging fruit” or “game-changer” were found to be equally annoying.
Post Interview Steps
At long last, you get through the last question and you decide you still want the job. Now, it's your turn. Ask non-confrontational questions regarding the company and the hiring manager's role. Find out who you'll actually report to and, if it's not the hiring manager, note that you would like to meet them in the second round of interviews.
Pay attention and ask for clarification on something discussed during the meeting. Follow up is great according to 47 percent of those interviewed, but only 17 percent said writing handwritten notes made a difference in their perception of you. These results don't predict what your interviewer's preferences might be. If you get one of the 17 percent and are the only one to send a handwritten note, you could find yourself getting the job!
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