By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service
Resumes are key, of course, and there are dozens of helpful sites and folks that can help you with those. I’m taking it one step further. Ok, you’ve got the interview. They liked the resume. Now what? Now comes the critical point. What to do/say/how to act in the interview. Now they gotta like YOU. It’s SHOWTIME.
Follow these interviewing tips to help you stand above the rest. Even ONE will make you better.
- When making a phone call to a prospective employer you need to ask for time to talk when they get on the line. Immediately. And “are you busy?” isn’t asking for time to talk. You need to ask, “Mr. Jones, did I reach you at a good (or bad) time?” Or “Mr. Jones, is this a good time to talk?” Something that says I respect your time, I am a respectful person, or I care about your time. Ask for time to talk. Without fail.Just barging into their life, starting up a conversation, thinking your phone call is the most important one, will get you right to the bottom of the list. Remember you are an interruption. Even if they have asked you to call.Using this tip will make you stand out high above the crowd.
- Writing an email to the employer? TRIPLE check your spelling and grammar. If anything is going to make you look stupid, it’s using the wrong your/you’re or the wrong their/there/they’re. You just graduated remember? They expect more. Use the old ‘when in doubt, leave it out.’ Not sure of a word’s spelling? DO NOT USE IT. Use spell check or have someone proof it. Just don’t misuse the wrong your/you’re or their/there/they’re or to/too/two.
- Watch the use of the word “I” in an email or anywhere. Challenge yourself not to use that word more than 3 times in an email (or conversation). I just received a letter from a young woman and it had over 13 “I’s” in the letter. Overwhelming.
- Drop ONE WORD answers. Not only did you just graduate from high school or college, you also graduated from 3rd grade. And you know 3 words make a sentence. ONE WORD answers are considered rude, and cold. Create sentences that answer the question you’re asked.
- Think before you speak. Mom or Dad probably taught you that. And it’s a good one. Think about the question the prospective employer is asking. The 1 or 2 second pause will show you’re thinking. That’s a good sign. Answering a question too quickly can make you look as though you have rehearsed and planned your answer. It’s too easy to make a mistake.
- Keep a SMILE in your voice and on your face most of the time, if not all of the time. The world is a big place and most people like happy, smiling people. They like being around those types. Norman and Nora Negative don’t get good jobs. Complainers don’t usually get good jobs. Don’t kid yourself, your ATTITUDE is on the line. Attitude is like a pimple. Very hard to hide. They’ll pick up on a good attitude and a negative one. Guess which one they want on their team?
- You may need to PAY YOUR DUES. Mickey Mantle didn’t play ball with the Yankees the first year. He paid his dues. You might need to do the same thing. Suck it up. Do the very best you can once you’re hired. The golden rule will win out. Treat others as you’d have them treat you. Show them they made the right choice! (Not familiar with Mickey Mantle, ASK.)
- DO NOT bring your cell phone into the interview. If you do, TURN THE RINGER OFF. Keep it in your pocket; unless they ask to see it. Trust me on this one.
- Have questions ready. Somewhere in the interview you will be asked “what questions do you have for me?” Be 100% sure you have some with you. “No, I’m good” or “no questions” isn’t a smart answer. You should have been to their website and that’s a good place to find some questions to ask. Don’t go into an interview without some questions for them.
- Thank you notes after the interview. YES, a handwritten one; short, sweet and genuine. Not another resume. A simple ‘thank you’ for the interview, time and information and a line about your excitement. FYI – Even if you feel the interview didn’t go well or you know it won’t come through, SEND THE THANK YOU NOTE. That’s never wasted. Always appreciated.
BONUS TIPS: Make eye contact; shake hands firmly and with confidence.
Ok, there are so many more thoughts to share, but start with these few and do super.
To get more common sense tips from Nancy’s new book, download Customer Service Defined. Filled with ideas, tips, skills and techniques you’ll use immediately and forever. Or any of her 9 books on Customer Service and communications.