How to Master the Finer Details of Interviews
Killer resume? Check. New suit for the interview? Check. Hair and makeup on point? Check. You have probably mastered these important aspects of job hunting and interviewing. But, what about the often overlooked but equally important finer details?
“When you’re competing for that one job opening and going against so many other highly-talented individuals, it’s the finer details that are going to help you stand out,” says Sharon Schweitzer, an employment attorney, cross cultural trainer, and modern manners expert.
Once you have been asked to come in for the initial interview, the first five seconds of meeting the recruiter or hiring manager are critical. “As the saying goes, it only takes a few seconds to make a first impression,” Schweitzer said.
When recruiters search for talent, the reality is it can be challenging to find the best candidate because so many people have years of experience and strong skills. Therefore, instead of focusing on IQ or traditional intelligence, the focus in recent years has been on the finer details, like EQ or emotional intelligence.
Schweitzer adds: “Today, the trend is for hiring managers to pay more attention to EQ, and many give it more weight than IQ. EQ helps recruiters gauge how well you will interact with clients and your coworkers. It shows us if you’re empathetic, understanding, flexible and the right fit for the team.
By paying attention to the finer details, you just might get a recruiter or hiring manager to take a liking to you. Be sure to keep the bar high with your networking meetings, too. Here are three ways to improve your EQ and stand out from the crowd at your next interview or networking meeting.
1 – Tell your story.
“The secret sauce is storytelling,” Schweitzer says. Show up to the interview with short stories demonstrating how you put your skills to use. Describe a time you kept your cool in a pressure-packed situation. Recount the day you turned an angry customer into a lifelong one. Recall the meeting when everyone was out of solutions and your non-traditional idea saved the day.
2 – Use your manners.
Perhaps one of the most important skills in both a professional setting and in life is having good manners. Afterall, who wants someone with a great skillset who is rude, obnoxious or rubs your customers or employees the wrong way?
Schweitzer suggests: “Say please and thank you. Hold the door open for people. Avoid speaking poorly of your previous employer or anyone else. If your interview is over lunch, exhibit excellent table manners because this is a direct reflection on you and your character. Immediately after the interview, within 24-48 hours, send a handwritten thank you note.” You know, all the stuff your parents taught you.
3 – Do your homework.
Remember that an interview is not only a chance for an employer to get to know you, it is also your chance to show your knowledge about them. “When talking with the interviewer, drop in some facts that show you’ve done your homework,” Schweitzer said. Show them you are familiar with the company’s history, some of their recent success, or key stakeholders. Even better, come prepared with a challenge they are currently facing, and show them how you would help solve it.
Today’s job market is tight, and you are competing with a lot of great talent. Everyone has the basics covered. Paying attention to the finer details that others often neglect will make you stand out and help you land your next job.