Gerri Bostick is a talent management consultant, executive coach and professional interviewer. With a B.A in Psychology from Winthrop University, in addition to being the recipient of a certificate in Strategic Human Resource Management from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business, Bostick has procured years of experience manning the ever-changing job market.
Thankfully, the job hunt aficionado was willing to impart some wise and helpful nuggets of advice to Ladders on behalf of any young professional hoping to ace an upcoming job interview.
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Bostick began, by stressing the importance of remaining calm. Recruiters are typically pretty keen when it comes to detecting anxiety in applicants, and your mental state might be the very thing that gives an equally qualified candidate, the edge over you. Bostick writes, “Even bots who are conducting screening interviews are trained to pick up on voice tone. If you are nervous or trying to remember points, it will be obvious and you won’t be seen as someone who can inspire others or manage stress.”
She urges job seekers to master the craft of being comfortable, especially in high stakes situations. At the end of the day, you want to get hired for being singular, not for being a facsimile of every other candidate-“you can never be all things to all people,” so you might as well put the work into being the best version of yourself.
“Prepare in advance, but don’t agonize”
This isn’t to say, that you should ever wing it. Research and preparation have their part to play certainly, but if you agonize over your plan of attack, your personality is less likely to come through. “Research the organization to find out key aspects of the culture. You are not expected to know details at this point but you should have an overview of the vision, mission, and current business trend.”
Backtick relayed a great way to ensure your preparation doesn’t cause your voice to take a backseat: take a mental snapshot of the three most important things you want to convey about yourself. The best way to go about doing this is through words or key phrases relating to yourself and or your experience that you think would be particularly relevant to a potential employer. Bostick explains, “This works like a charm because it frees the mind of congestion and stress.”
“First impressions are hard to erase”
As far as how you dress is concerned, the goal is to make an impression without being distracting. The surface level things, like demeanor and attire, are important to address because, as Bostick pointed out to us, “first impressions are very hard to erase.” If you can, try to implement a detail that you know about either the interviewer or the firm in your dialogue to encourage a rapport. This can be furthered along by having questions prepared that you genuinely want to know the answer to, as opposed to questions you simply think you’re supposed to ask. “Interviewers know when questions are staged as they tend to be overused, or not sincere.”
In closing, Bostick, states, “Once you are prepared, and in your comfort zone, forget about analyzing the interview. Plan your interview attire, get a good night’s sleep, and put on your A-game. You will be happy you did.”
Bostick went on to remind us to always end with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and an authentic smile.
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