Avoid Bad Job Interviews - Tips For Marketing Yourself When in a Job Interview

You're leaving the interview. As you walk past the reception area, you have that familiar feeling. We all have experienced the deconstructive mindset of "Wow, I didn't get that job". There are many questions that we go through as we take the everlasting trip back out the front door unsuccessful, and we reenact each detail of the interview to search out a flaw. We question ourselves about what we could have said or done differently, that would have produced a better outcome. The real question we should be asking ourselves is, "How well did I represent myself to the interviewer?" Many believe that they are exceptional at interviewing, but the harsh reality is that we are sometimes not as prepared as we assume. If you really know your craft, and your still not employed it might be a good idea to review how well you market yourself!

Recently I read an article by Michael Neece, on Monster.com in which he states the six reasons why most interviews fail. According to Neece, if you treat the interview as a conversation; never highlight a weakness, ask questions, and remember to turn your phone off, you will have interviewed well enough that a thank you letter and a follow up call should secure the job for you. All are very valid points, and should serve to enhance your potential to get the job. But this is a time period of complete saturation and paucity of jobs a new philosophy has emerged. In today's tumultuous economic climate, going in to this type of situation without a strategy is a paradigm for failure. As I was taught over and over in the military any situation that you enter into unprepared will leave your needs ignored and your infirmities exposed. While I wouldn't recommend that you enter the interview in the same capacity that you would a war in Iraq, I would recommend you go in with a structured plan.

First thing you should get into the practice of doing is preparation. In doing your preparation for an interview, company research is the key. Make sure that the skills you possess and the corporate philosophy of that organization closely relate. For example; if you are a lover of fine leather clothing or extravagant fur coats, you should not apply for a company like PETA, even if you're a great marketing exec and they have an opening. Instead you should perhaps look for a position with a fashion or branding company. Secondly, you should identify six characteristics about yourself that you would like for the interviewer to know. I call it the "Pressure Cooker." Pressure Cookers by design allow food to be cooked in a moist environment at a higher temperature than possible with conventional boiling or steaming methods. In a sealed pressure cooker, the boiling point of water increases as the pressure rises, resulting in superheated water above the normal boiling point of water. In theory, by adopting this idea of pressure cooking, you will have the skills available to perform above the normal expectancy of other candidates during an interview. You will be able to market yourself exponentially better, because you have trained your mind to compete at a higher level under extreme pressure. The Pressure Cooker is a compilation of both your hard skills and soft skills. The premise of studying these skills over and over, only letting them out when the lid is removed, will serve to enhance the appetite of the interviewer. There are many different ways to ask the question "Tell me a little about yourself," but with proper planning there is only one real answer. When this question is asked, it is your opportunity to command control and steer the recollection of the interviewer. In this economy it can be difficult to predict the mindset of a potential employer. With over a hundred or so applicants per job posting, this is your opening to secure the job.

Hard skills are your certifications, academic achievements, and qualifications which make you stand out amongst the other candidates. Amazingly enough, most people rely on their resume to state their qualifications and certifications leaving the interviewer with the cold outlook on their abilities. I was once told, "It's a known fact that fifty percent of all doctors graduate at the bottom half of their class." Think about what that means for a moment. This idea should signify the premise that most employers will not be impressed with simply stating your degree's or achievements. You also need to provide additional information about your accomplishments to secure the position. Emphasize how your accomplishments have helped you to advance to the next level of your career. Thinking back most of us can identify several missed opportunities to expand on our abilities. There should be at least three accomplishments with one detail each that you have in your pressure cooker. You should study them and be able to regurgitate them on demand. I do not recommend a prepared statement which can come across as negative like a soliloquy that you have practiced and now decided to share. Your hard skills should flow as if to coagulate in the mind of your interviewer. You want the interviewer to immediately associate you with the skills that he or she is looking for. Utilize your hard skills first and expand on them with facts about you obtaining them that didn't come across on your resume. For example it is impressive if you obtained your degree while simultaneously working forty plus hours a week. This information may impress upon the mind of your interviewer by revealing your dedication. Positive association starts first with these types of nonverbal communication devices.

Next you want to reveal a sample of your soft skills. Soft skills are attributes of your personality that you can use to enhance your hard skills. A good example of this would be the diligence you've acquired that allows you to analyze income statements, or plan projects. In this instance diligence is the soft skill that you want the interviewer to correlate to you. There should also be a minimum of three soft skills in your pressure cooker that exemplify your abilities. In the case of a soft skill, it is unnecessary to expand on each one as you did with your hard skills. Most job postings will advertise these soft skills, and it is your job to adopt the ideas, and adapt them in your pressure cooker. When entering into the interview you should be able to articulate them in conjunction with your hard skills. Given that these are just personality traits, which most people may possess as well, I would only use them sparsely. This is just to show the interviewer that you understand the total package that you will be required to bring to the position. I learned the hard way that after using a pressure cooker, the pressure is slowly released so that the vessel can be safely opened. This also applies to the theory of presenting yourself to a potential employer.

Trial and error has taught me that the release of pressure from the cooker too fast will only tarnish or ruin the reputation you're trying to establish with the interviewer. This creates the potential to make your skills less useful, and or less valuable. Furthermore the idea may develop that you are not going to be able to function well within the organization. You can usually feel the effects of the damage immediately after the interview is over. You should go slow, and follow the lead of the interviewer. He or she will ask questions prompting you to continue, or to reveal another skill. You should also practice your delivery of the contents of your pressure cooker. As Michael Neece mentioned in his article you should always treat the interview as a conversation and not an interrogation, but at the same time you should be prepared for which ever direction the conversation leads. While the interviewer is showing you which way to proceed, it is your duty to implement a course of action that will allow you to achieve the immediate short term goal of landing the job.

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