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July 9, 2010
How to Have an Awesome Interview
Whether searching for a career opportunity or navigating other areas of life, you need to be prepared and pay attention to detail, for it can make a huge difference in your efforts to succeed.

When it comes to preparing your résumé, you need to highlight your uniqueness, for it's the key to standing out. Pointing out your results and what you did that you weren’t required to do illustrates that you are self-motivated and creative, a go-getter.

“Great résumés will showcase your work performance rather than your work responsibilities and describe the results you achieved rather than your job duties,” said Laurie Bartolo, president of Plan B HR Consulting, Inc.

Bartolo, who has reviewed many résumés and conducted a plethora of interviews throughout her career, explained that job seekers must maintain honesty during interviews.

“Never lose sight of the fact that the interview is a two-way evaluation," she said. "Stay true to yourself in the interview process and never say what you think the person interviewing you wants to hear, unless it happens to be the truth.”

In addition to honesty, positivity is a key trait that is necessary in order to succeed. Your interviewer will speak to every person you interact with at the company in order to verify that you exhibited a positive attitude.

“Since human resources has to handle any of the problems that result from a bad hire," said Bartolo, "HR professionals watch for red flags that could signal trouble down the road. HR wants to avoid hiring high-maintenance personality types, so be careful with your attitude throughout the interview process. Show a positive demeanor to everyone at the company; it will pay off because HR will make sure to verify that you will fit in with the company’s culture."

Indeed, there have been stories about candidates who fit the job description perfectly and aced the interview yet did not get hired due to their negative attitude while interacting with other company members.

One important question that has arisen for job seekers is in regard to the usefulness of job boards. If job seekers use these job boards as just one part of a versatile plan, they can succeed.

“Job seekers can use a job board but need to remember that the board should be just one tool in their toolbox. The use of job boards in conjunction with networking is definitely a recipe for success,” said Devra Dutton, a career consultant and résumé writer at JobBound, who has recruited employees and reviewed résumés throughout her career in HR.

One easy way to save time on job boards is the LinkedIn Toolbar, which can be downloaded and added to your Web browser. It will display the connections that you have to the company that posts the opportunity.

Bartolo suggests that the job board should play the role of facilitating the search by allowing job seekers to find out the climate for hiring in their desired professional fields.

“Use job boards to find out which companies hire people with your skills and where you have the best chances of being hired for the work you’d like to do," she said. "Once you’ve got a list of target companies, develop a networking plan to make contacts inside those companies. Your chances of being interviewed for a job are much higher if someone inside the company can bring your résumé to the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. Once you’ve established contacts inside a company, use job boards to learn about available positions, and ask your contacts to share your résumé with the appropriate person.”

A balanced approach truly does pay off, whether in a job search or in other aspects of life.

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Elias Kamal Jabbe is a Los Angeles-based Journalist and PR Specialist and the Founder of Multicultural Matters, an online media outlet focused on multiculturalism and international entrepreneurship. Feel free to connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.com/Elias213 for more information.
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