YOU may get your foot into the door of your prospective employer's office with an impressive curriculum vitae (CV), but it is the other soft skills that hiring managers look at, especially in a tight employment market.
Beyond a good CV, you need to be able to focus on getting a few things right to leave a great impression with your interviewer. These include highlighting your achievements, being specific about your contributions, using the right words and coming across as professionally or commercially savvy. These will make you stand out from the competition.
Almost overnight, the job market has shifted from an employee's market to an employer's market. This means that hiring companies can afford to pick and choose whom they want.
Here is how you can double your chances of landing that job:
Show your business acumen
Knowing your own area of work and executing it well is not complete without showing the awareness of the commercial or business impact of your role.
When sharing your achievements, display your business acumen by sharing how they impact business operations or revenue.
In tough times, employers will be more selective and not just hire people who only fulfil the role, but who also understand the business fundamentals and value-add.
Be "tuned in"
The ability to articulate your answers in a lively manner is crucial in capturing your interviewer's interest and attention. Going on and on about your achievements or experience may bore the interviewer and cause him to lose interest.
Some interviewers love details; some loathe them. You need to size up your interviewer's level of interest and attention span by his body language. Remember, eyes speak volumes. If he looks away often, you may be boring him. Answer the question directly and do not oversell or undersell yourself.
Choice of words
Refrain from using big words or complicated analogies to illustrate a point. Keep it simple and speak clearly. What is more important is the flow and structure of your conversation.
Be confident and positive
Exuding confidence and positive energy lends a person charisma. On the other hand, arrogance, a lack of confidence and negative energy will cost you the job.
Having confidence shows you have the skills and experience to go for it. Positive energy gives the perception that you are not a quitter and you have a life and work attitude that will be resilient during tougher times.
The world is wired up. You need to come across as technologically savvy and not resistant to new technologies or ideas. From computers to mobile phones, being technologically savvy is no longer a choice.
Have a sense of humour
An interview will be a chore for both parties if it is not punctuated with some humour or wit. Having a good sense of humour or being witty helps you to connect to your interviewer. Remember to stay poised and professional; do not break into hysterics.
You need to look smart and professional in an interview. Personal grooming your attire, your hair, nails, make-up and accessories completes the whole look. When in doubt, keep to basic colours and minimal make-up or accessories.
Honesty is the best policy
If you are asked a tricky question by the interviewer, never try and answer it too quickly. Be honest and acknowledge that it is a tricky or interesting question, then chew on it for a moment before attempting to answer.
Sincerity and honesty are traits that are invaluable and hiring managers would often choose a great attitude over aptitude.
Be ready to offer work references and referees if your interviewer expresses his concerns over various aspects of your suitability.
Nothing beats a real-life testimonial from someone who has worked with you. It also provides a glimpse into your ability to establish and maintain good work relationships and contacts.