In today’s world, it isn’t enough to be smart, educated, and a high performer. The competition is too fierce. Many people have these qualities. Employers, leaders, managers, prospective clients and executives are looking for all the red flags of concern to be down to pick you.
Pay attention to these six nonstarters so you don’t kill your chances before you get out of the gate.
You spend more time on your outfit than your research
It is human nature to draw a conclusion about someone in a few seconds. This is how people survived in an early age. Am I in danger? Is this person trustworthy? Appearance is important, but companies today are not primitive.
They are searching for clues on whether or not you will fit into their culture. If you don’t, their reputation is on the line.
Don’t be a risk for them. Do you look and sound like the people who work at the company? Have you observed what people wear there? Have you listened to any videos or tapes of people at the company and can speak to the priorities? Have you read the web site and searched news sites on pressing issues in their industry?
You talk about your education, experience, and results
Everyone these days is talented, has the experience and a track record. The real question is how well you will apply your knowledge, experience, and skills to advance their primary mission.
What are the goals of the company? What specific edge do you, and only you, have to help advance their mission? Ask the interviewer, “What specifically can I do to make your job easier?”
You point out your loyalty, punctuality, and having never missed a deadline
This is one dimensional and not enough to identify you as a high performer. Prospective clients and employers want to sense more about your character. That means don’t TELL them about your leading traits.
SHOW them a glimpse into your thought processes through stories of things you’ve learned over time. Show humility in how you have grown. Include how you are dedicated even when no one is watching.
You rely on letters of reference or testimonials to show that you are motivated
Who would present a testimonial that said anything else? These letters are important but not enough.
Tell a story of how you initiated a key project and your ambition to complete it in spite of controversy along the way. What they really want to know is how you will do that for them. Give an example of something innovative regarding their priorities and how you would execute it.
You express how you are always positive
Positivity is important. But the position may require someone who is also realistic, analytical or proactive which sometimes brings with it naysaying. They really want to know if you will fit in. How do you weather being challenged? What is your attitude in general? Are you idealistic or pragmatic? Are you a tribal follower or a conductor. How does your character bring value? Tell them why their culture draws you to want to work there.
You tell them you have a lot of contacts
Having a broad network of contacts is helpful, but can you access the right people and engage them to take action? Show how your specific network would benefit the company’s priorities. Convey how you would develop relationships with people who you need to know.
The most important thing you can do to prepare for an interview or sales call is to prepare yourself to listen to them. Spend a few moments breathing deeply before you go into the office. Meditate. Reflect on what a good listener you are. Don’t see the meeting through their eyes looking at you.
That will make you nervous. Be all ears. Envision yourself as an inquisitor who is there to fact find. As you discover facts and read the situation, your strategy to help them as a servant leader will become more clear. When you become a solutions provider all the red flags go down.
If you want more executive presence tips here’s a link to the FREE eBook – 31 Executive Presence Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World.