As a candidate, there are basically four ways a hiring manager makes a judgment about whether you’re the best candidate: Your resume, interviews, references and lastly, your overall comportment, demeanor, manner, attitude, style and conduct. You probably know a lot about the first three items, so let’s talk about the fourth, which centers on your organizational fit.
Judgments are made about your potential “fit” into a job based on each and every contact you have with the hiring organization. Your behavior is as important as a resume. Why? Because behavior is a very telling indicator of who you are, how you will work with others and your potential success. Here are some of the “tells” during the job search process:
Being on Time: Lateness shows a disregard for the time of others. It demonstrates a lack of organization and scheduling. These are not good traits to show a potential employer.
How you shake hands: Firm handshakes show confidence and a more outgoing personality. Too strong a handshake may show aggressiveness and too weak may show insecurities.
Connecting through your eyes: Eye contact is a powerful devise for connecting with others, but only in moderation: Too much is disconcerting, like staring. Too little shows disinterest. Show a high level of interest in every person you meet, while being likable and engaging.
Treating others: You can diminish your candidacy by treating underlings (secretaries, receptionists, etc..) with apathy, and upper levels with exaggerated reverence. Interviewers notice these obvious behaviors. It’s a tip-off to problems ahead if hired.
Personal space: Different cultures have different “rules”. In the U.S., conversational space is usually about an arms length apart. Make sure personal space is comfortable for others.
Nervous habits: A few habits to stop doing: Constantly checking your watch or cell phone, keeping your eyes downcast, a nervous leg bounce, facial or touching ticks and biting your nails
Conversation stoppers: Some candidates interrupt an interviewer’s question or conversation so they can demonstrate how smart they are to make a point. That’s bad manners. If possible, talk about subjects that the interviewer is interested or wants to know more. Don’t make the mistake of talking exclusively about you. Include “the team” when discussing a group effort.
Responding to the interviewer: You want an engaging conversation, so respond to questions with direct and focused answers. Don’t ramble nor leave a void in the conversation as if you expect the interviewer to carry the responsibility of the discussion. Ask intelligent questions that pertain to the strategy or expectations of the organization. Find common ground, especially with the hiring manager.
These are just a few of the “rules of engagement” when on a job search. Remember: Hiring managers and their organization are making decisions and judgments about you every time you are in contact with them. Make each connection count.
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