Show Your Positive Side in Job Interviews

Waiting Room

Waiting RoomThere’s a saying in the business world: Hire for attitude, train for skills. In other words, if you have a positive outlook and seem a good match for the environment, you’ll probably be hired — even if you don’t have all the required technical skills and experience. So how can you develop the mood or personality that prospective employers are looking for?

  • Use positive body language throughout the interview. Smile and offer a firm handshake. Don’t fold your arms, scowl or sit on the edge of your chair when responding to questions. Be appropriately relaxed and make eye contact throughout the session, take a few notes and nod your head so the interviewer knows you’re listening.
  • Be positive. Begin each answer with a reassuring “sure” or “absolutely,” because the interviewer will be subliminally swayed by your continued use of positive words, language and behavior. If you’re asked a negative question, like what you disliked about your former boss or job, provide a short answer and always end on a positive or upbeat note.
  • Show a “can do” attitude. Southwest Airlines is famous for hiring energetic people with no industry experience as long as they’re pleasant to be around. So avoid negative thoughts before an interview. Even if you’re in a career slump, remain confident by focusing on your prior successes.
  • Do your homework and offer the interviewer anecdotes and examples that show why you’re a good match for the company’s culture. Managers gravitate toward job seekers who seem like part of the team even before they accept an offer.

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No Responses to “Show Your Positive Side in Job Interviews”

August 24, 2011 at 7:31 am, Mike said:

I am not convinced one can “develop the … personality that prospective employers are looking for.” Your personality is your personality and stress, conflict, etc. will reveal what lies beneath. The question then becomes will it be accepted provided you are productive; assuming of course you are not abusive, threatening, etc. Probably best to “be yourself” so the interviewer(s) can determine if “yourself” is a fit with the culture.

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August 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm, TR said:

This is simply not true. If you don’t have ALL of the required skills–and I mean every single one of them–you won’t even get a phone interview, let alone a face-to-face meeting.

Almost no one trains anymore. You are supposed to walk in the door with the same skill set, and producing on the same level, as people who have been with the company for a decade or longer.

IT hiring parties would sooner hire a serial killer who can code like mad than someone who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but whom they’d actually have to train.

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August 25, 2011 at 7:19 am, Mark Feffer said:

The article really is true. Managers know that if someone can’t work well with the others on a team, he/she is going to be more disruptive than anything else, no matter how good their skills. Remember we’re talking about the interview here. Are you saying a manager will hire someone when they’re a jerk during their conversation? I doubt that very much.

And, I don’t agree that managers use resumes like a checklist. Absolutely, they’re looking for the core skills. But there may also be other pieces of experience in the resume that intrigue them. Like everything else involved in hiring, it’s subjective. But time and again, managers say they need people who have skills and can fit. And, more often than not, they tell me the skills can be learned, but the personality can’t be.

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August 26, 2011 at 8:28 am, TR said:

That has not been my experience at all–in any field, not just IT. I don’t care what hiring managers CLAIM. They DO use resumes like a checklist, and if they cannot check off ALL of the skills they want, you will NOT get an interview, not even a phone interview.

Of course, even if you have the skills and get called, you cannot go into an interview dressed like a bum and talking like you just stepped out of the trailer park or da hood. But if you don’t have the skills, you could be Mother Teresa and you still won’t get in the door. And even if you do somehow slip by and get the interview, you’re going to wish you never did.

I actually had a Skype “interview” the other week that lasted less than five minutes because ALL the employer cared about was whether I had extensive web and graphic design experience, specifically in WordPress and complete with a portfolio. I was polite, showed enthusiasm, etc. It didn’t matter. The first question out of their mouth was how much design experience I had and if I had any websites they could look at. Notably, when I gave them two URL’s to look at, they scowled as they looked at them, so if anyone had a “bad attitude,” it was THEM, not me. They told me there was no point in going on because I didn’t have the skills they wanted. (I frankly don’t understand why the employer scheduled this interview in the first place; during the initial phone interview, they made it sound as though this was a MARKETING position, not a web and graphic design job.)

Then there was the first “tech” job I applied for. I didn’t have the skills the interviewer wanted, plus I was clearly too old for the job–nobody in that office was over 25 years old–so he crumpled my resume up right in front of me. He didn’t even bother waiting until I’d left.

I’ve put my best foot forward on many occasions–only to have the interviewer bring a sledgehammer down on it. So please spare me the anecdotes about how hiring managers are all professional and applicants are all ghetto trailer trash.

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August 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm, Marcus Griffen said:

TR this is a sad story, sometimes I think Dice bloggers don’t know the realities of the job hunt, and how difficult it is. It seem the only advice they can give is Networking which effective if have a job. Mark Feffer can disagree all he wants, the realty is the career advise dice give does is ineffectual.

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August 30, 2011 at 7:39 am, Mark Feffer said:

Sorry you disagree, Marcus. We just use our own experience and talk to a lot of people who are both looking, or the ones doing the hiring. It comes down to everyone has to tailor their approach and not every thing’s going to work in every case. Sorry you think what we say is ineffectual, and whenever you have suggestions please send me an e-mail.

Best,

Mark

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