A wise man once said, “The only constant in this world is change.” The job market and hiring process has changed drastically over the last several decades. As with many things, technology has changed the landscape of hiring tremendously. Whereas twenty years ago, employers had to call or mail references in order to get an understanding or insight into the potential work ethic of an employee, today there are dozens of information websites that present social views, photographs, and personal behavior that can give a potential employer a quick and insightful look into potential employees. Likewise, technology has also altered the skillset and soft skills of many of the younger applicants today. Young men and women who are entering the workforce for the first time are currently equipped with fewer soft skills or complex problem solving skills than their Generation X predecessors. To be fair to these younger millennials, this lack of independent problem solving is due in large part to the more efficient crowd sourcing method of tackling issues and a reliance on technology. It is true, there is a big difference in the hiring world than just a few years ago.
However, there are some aspects that remain the same. When it comes to getting hired for a job, making a strong impression and a positive imprint on an employer is the most surefire way to get hired by a good company and secure a good future.
An interview is your opportunity to sell yourself, your skills, your knowledge, and your abilities to a potential employer. There are several tips and strategies that will help you present yourself in the most positive and strong light, thus improving your chances of being hired.
5 Ways to Sell Your Knowledge, Skills and Abilities to Hiring Managers to Get Hired:
- Prove You’re a Problem Solver One thing that has been made evident over more recent years is that a college education is not substitute for good old fashioned problem solving. Of the many soft-skills that have been lacking in recent generations, complex and analytical problem solving is among the most concerning for employers. Problem solving requires logic, situational awareness, and imagination. In addition to being a critical attribute that most employers look for, problem solving is also connected to other skillsets such ability to rebound after failure, level headedness, resilience, analytical skills, and in many circumstances it requires teamwork. “Whether you are putting together an application, or preparing for an interview, having examples of problem solving experience is a good idea,” a recent article in TargetJobs stated. “Problem solving is a vital skill in daily life, which is why college graduate employers are so keen on it.” Whether you are already seen as an effective problem solver or if this is a topic that you have struggled with in the past, it is important in any interview situation to maintain confidence and display complex critical thinking. One method to practice prior to any interview is the Bransford and Stein IDEAL Method:
- Identify the issue
- Define the obstacles
- Examine your options
- Act on an agreed course of action
- Look at how it turns out, and whether any changes need to be made.
Other ways to brush up on your problem solving skills involves puzzle games such as Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, or card games.
- Add Value At the core of every interview is a question being asked by the interviewer: Why should I hire you? The hiring process is exhausting and every moment spent reviewing resumes, calling references, and scheduling interviews is spent in the effort to answer that question. The interviewer wants to know exactly what you can provide them and the company. If you have gotten through the resume selection process and have been chosen for an interview, the company has seen something in your qualifications that indicates that you might be of value to the organization. An interview is your opportunity to express verbally and physically how your qualifications and experience can provide the company with the value that they seek. In order to stand out in a crowd and be hired, it is critical that your show the interviewer how you would add value to the company as an employee. Interviewers hear altered versions of the same answers to many interview questions, but at the end of the day, all they want to hear is exactly what you will do for them. The key is to display your ability to add value without sounding egotistic or unrealistic. Some ways to show display your added value in an interview include:
- Creating a short list of all the advantages of hiring you. Write this ahead of the interview and be intimately familiar with it.
- Repeatedly circling back to key skillsets or strengths such as excellent communication skills or ability to retain new processes quickly.
- Make your professional ambitions clear and concise. Expressing a desire to grow professionally also displays a more serious and stable future that would be mutually beneficial to yourself and the company. Motivation and dedication are high valued commodities to employers.
- Practice is Perfect Interviewing is not an instinctive process. True, there are those for which interviewing is easier or more natural than others, but the process is not at all intuitive. Much like other skillsets, even the most adept and capable individuals can better their performance with practice. While it is cliché to say that ‘practice makes perfect’, the old adage remains true. The pressure and uncomfortable nature of interviewing can be daunting and stressful. In situations of stress or discomfort, humans tend to react in a variety of subtle ways that can give an interviewer the wrong impression. Stumbling on words, fidgeting, not making eye contact – these are all examples of nervous behavior that can sabotage an interview and undermine your skills. In order to sell yourself in the most effective way, you must be prepared in the most extensive way. Practice is the perfect way to reduce jitters, increase confidence, and present a well polished and capable potential employee to the interviewer. “As with every skill you’ve ever learned, you have to learn the technique and then practice, practice, practice. A mock interview will not only help you perfect your technique, but it will also allow you to get valuable feedback and coaching on your performance,” said com contributing writer Carole Martin in a piece about the importance of interview practice. “An added bonus to preparing and practicing is the self-confidence you will gain. In today’s competitive world, you must be prepared and in top shape.” Present the best possible version of yourself by practicing the process before the process begins.
- Know the Company Direct and extensive knowledge about the business you are interviewing with goes a long way. One of the most effective and underutilized interview tools is simply doing your homework about the company. When were they established? What is their mission statement? What are their growth numbers? All of this information not only gives you a good understanding of the company that you’re interested in working with, but it also proves to the interviewer that you are interested, curious, and capable. It shows a keen eye for situational awareness, a thorough thought process, and risk management. By asking questions about the business during the interview (beyond inquiring about the benefits or pay raise schedule) you are displaying the type of cautious and critical thought process that employers find extremely attractive in an employee. Having a full understanding and appreciation for the company’s business objectives and challenges will help you stand out and above your competition in the hiring process.
- Thank You Letters True, this is completed after the actual interview process, but the importance of this step simply cannot be overstated. Thank you letters do much more than just extend the courtesy of acknowledging the opportunity to interview with the organization. Thank you letters display a sense of humility, extend respect, and acknowledge the time and effort exerted on behalf of the organization to meet with you. Thank you letters also present a sense of propriety and present classic good manners that go a long way in today’s customer centric business world. Lastly, thank you letters are another opportunity to remind the employer of your highest qualities as well as present them with a sense of tradition and follow through that many employers are eager to bring on board in their organization.
The interview is less about your accomplishments on paper or your work history. The interview is a presentation, and the subject matter is you. Your qualifications and references might have gotten you through the door, but your demeanor, preparation, and salesmanship is what will get you into the office as an employee. Your ability to express and present your capacity to work well with others, be a self-starter, utilize your problem solving skills, or your flexibility will be crucial in your efforts to sell yourself as a quality employee. The most successful interviews are the ones where you leave the employer chomping at the bit and ready to get you on the team because they see the value and ability that having you on the team will provide to the organization. Be prepared, know your abilities, and be ready to sell yourself.
Robert Moment is an author and get hired expert who specializes in interview coaching that help ambitious people get hired for jobs and make more money. Robert is the author of Interview Tips a book with proven job interview tips you need to ace a job interview and get hired. Visit www.howtointerviewtips.com for fresh job interview tips, interviews skills and job interview strategies that will make you standout in job interviews and get hired for jobs.