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Are You Sabotaging Your Interview for The “A” Team?

You left the interview frustrated and confused. You got in front of the decision-makers, but you didn’t get the job. Again. What’s holding you back?

Hiring for “A” teams is a very hot topic in small business owner forums these days. A major concern is commitment of potential employees. Will they be committed to the business and share the company’s passion for the services and products provided? Another topic frequently addressed in these forums is one of employee longevity – is the  person willing to put in time learning the way we do business or is it just a stepping stone? While it’s true that current jobs do not have the “30 year and retire with a gold watch” aspect found in the 1930s-1950s, employers still want to know that their time and effort put into training an employee is not in vain.

Before going to the interview do some homework and turn the tide in your favor to get hired.

The Cost of Hiring.. and Firing

Employers are becoming more selective of potential candidates for good reason. Hiring the wrong employee not only damages employee morale, it can damage business growth and cost them dearly.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that hiring the wrong entry-level employee can cost an employer between $5,000-7,000 after three months. Firing a manager that makes $20,000 per year will cost $40,000.  Add the unseen costs of lower employee morale, employee burnout, lost business, dissatisfied customers, and the cost to continue interviewing. It becomes a human resources’ nightmare.

This doesn’t include possible costs that result from employee lawsuits. A detailed list of employee rights and possible violations are listed on the U.S. Department of Labor website.  For these reasons, employers are careful to hire the right employee in the beginning to prevent the nightmares of terminating a bad employee.

Know the Company

This can’t be stressed enough. Before interviewing, take time to research the company. What is their mission statement? Understand its company culture. Learn as much as possible about its dress code and the dynamics of its management. Are you interested in its products or services? If you don’t care about the company, why should it care about hiring you?  One line from the “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” movie is Part of the crew, part of the ship.   The interviewer will recognize if you’re not interested in being a part of the crew; instead of letting you jump ship at the first opportunity, s/he won’t even let you cross the gangplank.

Do You Add Value?

When the employer asks you to describe one way you added value to a previous employer, what will you say?  Can you provide qualitative or quantitative results for contributions you brought to a previous employer? Can you explain why s/he should hire you? Are you progressive and understand how to use social media to promote a company? Employers welcome new hires who are progressive and aware of current technologies. You want to keep the company flowing with new energy, not float in stagnant waters.

Dress for Success

First impressions are hard to change. Presenting a professional image can make it or break it for a new hire.  Dressing like a professional, even if interviewing to flip burgers or push carts at Target, you’ll make a better impression and promote faster than if you assume it doesn’t matter.

Studies show that women who wear a fitted suit, a nice blouse and coordinated skirt are likely to be hired over someone wearing a coordinated pant suit, and definitely over someone wearing jeans–even if they cost $150.  Guys do better if they wear sport or dress shirts that are pressed, wear a tie, and wear slacks with a pressed crease down the leg.

This brings me to a touchy area, but it must be addressed – so here goes! Personal expression that includes wild hair colors, body piercings, radical tattoos is fine, but some employers are fairly old school. What I suggest is go back to the original hair color, cover the visible tattoos, and remove the obvious piercings for the interview. The idea is to get your foot in the door and prove your worth. After that, an employer may not have a problem with your appearance but be far more concerned about how much you add value and contributre to the organization.

Body language and personal expression are key factors to winning a job. Most employers have determined whether they’ll hire you based on your résumé and possibly  phone interview.  But the final factor is determined within the first five seconds after you walk into the room. The way you walk and your appearance reveals your self-confidence, self-esteem and professionalism. If you’ve prepared for the interview it shows, will make all the difference in how you’re perceived and whether you’re hired or still desperate for a paycheck.

What interview preparations have you taken to get hired?

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