Congratulations. You’ll be graduating from college soon and you’ll have the chance to dazzle the world with your knowledge, skills, and talent. First, though, you’re going to have to know how to nail a job interview.
By this point in time, you’ve probably heard or read a lot about how to navigate an interview. There are some smart tips out there. You can also glean important guidelines from your college career center and, yes, even from your parents. But keep in mind that most of the info people provide tends to focus only on the first 7/8ths of an interview. If you want a job offer, you need to know how to excel at that last 1/8th, too.
The First 5 Minutes
Don’t get me wrong. Every part of an interview counts, starting with the first moment you walk through the door. In fact, a study I once worked on with 500 human resource managers revealed something I’d always suspected: that the decision not to hire is often made within the first 5 minutes. That means you need to start off with a firm (but not bone-crushing) handshake, good eye contact, and impressive energy (to say nothing of wearing an appropriate outfit).
During The Interview
Needless to say, you also have to wow the interviewer once you sit down to talk. You can help guarantee that by rehearsing in advance. Practice describing your experience and your goals (but not so much that your remarks sound canned). Also prepare answers to possible questions you’ll be asked (you can find many typical ones online), and be sure to write out four or five terrific questions for you to ask. The phrase “No, I think you’ve answered everything” should never escape your lips.
The Last 1/8th
Now let’s talk about that last 1/8th. This is where you get a final shot at impressing the other person. Try to keep your energy level high so the session doesn’t fizzle out. But that’s not all. During the last few moments, you need to come right out and ask for the business.
Asking for the business is a strategy that the best salespeople practice all the time. It means always closing a pitch meeting by succinctly requesting an order from the client.
Well, you need to do that with a job, too. At the close of the interview, dare to ask the other person for the position. You can say something like, “Before we end, I just want to tell you that I’m really excited about the information you shared and that I’d love to work here. I think I could contribute a great deal.”
You may think it sounds a bit too bold and self-promote-y, but interviewers want to hear that you’re passionate about the opportunity they’re offering. So, take a deep breath and go for it. As a salesperson I know once said, “In the case of a tie, the person who wants it the most wins.”
This article was written by Kate White, former Editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan magazine and author of I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion and Create the Career You Deserve, on behalf of the Happy Grad Project.
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
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