Do you want to dominate your job interview? Of course you do! The trick to dominate your job interview isn’t to answer questions perfectly. It’s to take care of the little details that give a good impression. Yes, you need to be able to do the job and you need to answer questions very well. However, the most judgement will go towards the little things that you do.
Whether you like it or not, whether you disagree with it or not, whether you don’t do it or not, people will judge the little things. It’s taken me a long time to figure out but I’m more than ever convinced and the small details in life make the biggest differences in the world to people.
Conversation with the HR Manager
It all started when some of the coworkers went out to lunch with the HR managers. The next round of associates were to be hired and they were telling us about the interview process with them. We started probing as to what kind of things they looked for in a candidate. What they said next really opened my eyes.
They told stories how each interviewer is given a characteristic to judge on, teamwork, for example. They score the interview and relay the score back to the HR managers before moving on to the next interview. Based on how the candidate did, they judge and rank the scores and review comments for tiebreakers.
Even during breaks, they were watching and judging everything that the candidates were doing. Were the candidates socializing? Were they being nice? How do they interact with others? I would have thought because it’s during a break, it wouldn’t matter as much.
There was this one girl who wouldn’t get off her phone during the breaks. The full time people would try to make conversation with her and she still wouldn’t get off. She didn’t get an offer.
Maybe she dominated her job interview by answering questions flawlessly. However, all the domination in the world didn’t matter. The tiniest things made a difference between getting an offer or not. That opened up my perspective.
How I Viewed Interviews
I didn’t think the tiny details in the interviews were the most important factors. I thought the big picture was what mattered the most. Did I have relevant experience? Am I smiling and generally likable? Am I analytical enough of a person to do the job?
The conversation I had with the HR managers shed a different light. I realized that the big picture things matter. However, they’re never the things that tip the scale to get an offer.
I thought back to my interviews and realized maybe that was why I had so many rejections. I focused so much on the bigger picture aspects and never the little details. My past and relevant work experiences, thinking of stories for teamwork, and answering the questions in a results oriented way are what I thought were the most important.
However, what mattered more are things like my shirt being ironed, shoes being shined, and how I gave my answers.
My past interviews and rejections are starting to make sense now. People will judge on the little things, and that makes the biggest difference. One of my interviews, during the lunch he said how it’s become customary to men to wear black socks with suits.
I joked that maybe I should go change my socks real quick (even though I was wearing black socks). He immediately replied with “no, I checked already, you’re good.”
What! When? How? That’s actually important? I still don’t understand how wearing black socks would be a direct and big correlation to how well I would perform at the job. Maybe it signals how much I care about the interview, which I don’t think is the biggest indicator of showing care. I ended up scoring an offer from them but I can’t help but wonder if I would have gotten an offer if I was wearing white socks.
If you really want to dominate your job interview, pay attention to the details. How you look, how you sound, etc.
Typical Small Things That Matter
- How you dress
- How you sound or talk
- Your behavior
- If you’re smiling
- How your hair looks
- Your posture
- Your questions
- How you treat others
These are a subset of the bigger list of the things that interviewers remember. It’s a very judgmental thing to do but they will do it. I talked to a city CEO once to ask for advice but I was dressed casually. Button down shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. I dressed in such a way because I talked to CFOs and chairmans wearing what I was wearing and haven’t had any trouble.
The CEO doesn’t answer any of my emails anymore.
Dominate Your Job Interview
I’ve outlined how to position yourself in your career. However, a career only happens after an interview (even if it’s only a formality interview). That’s why crushing the interview is the first step to be successful in your career.
If you really want to dominate your job interview, I can’t emphasize the importance of taking care of the little things. People are naturally judgmental. It’s an instinctive and survival thing. People gauge whether the person is trustworthy, intelligent, ethical, etc. through passing judgement.
No matter what you do and how to try to stop it, you won’t be able to stop people from judging. That’s why it’s smart to know what kind of things people will judge on. I can bet my money that the little things are what people pay attention to, instead of the big things.
Readers, how do you plan to dominate your job interview? Do you agree that the details are what matters the most in interviews? Do you have an interesting job interview story? Let me know in the comments below!
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