Ever been told to just relax, this is an informal interview? At Sequence Staffing we have learned that there is no such thing. If you consider every type of interview as a formal, serious affair then you will always be at your best, will give your best performance and will most likely land the job.
Likewise, if you drop your guard and approach the interview in an overly relaxed, informal way you may well have handed your interviewer the reason to drop you from contention. Why? Because you can come across as too laid back, or say something out of turn or out of character. If you are called by a recruiter or employer, then consider the conversation to be a serious interview and they are trying to obtain key facts and information about you, and they are seriously sizing you up on every response.
#1 Be on guard.
The manner in which an informal interview might be employed can be deceptive and purposely done. You might be at a social function, perhaps a trade association luncheon and a professional associate may begin asking you all sorts of questions related to your professional background and experience. You might interpret this as someone who has a keen interest in you, and that might be the case, but chances are that person is beginning to conduct an informal screening interview and you do not even know it.
#2 Give thoughtful answers.
If you keep this in mind and recognize it as an opportunity to respond with thoughtful answers that are provoking as they are interesting then you will be well on your way to the next step in your career. This is an excellent manner that many recruiters use and candidates have no clue they are under the spotlight. But a recruiter can quickly size you up and if you provide the sort of response they are looking for then you have a better chance to land that next job you covet.
#3 Stay focused.
As flattered as you might be when someone begins asking you many inquisitive questions about yourself and your professional background, accept in terms that you are being formally interviewed. That way you will be in the frame of mind to give strong answers; answers that promote follow up questions and incite the interviewer to dig deeper into your experience.
#4 Take advantage of social settings.
Not only do recruiters take advantage of social settings, but so do smart owners and managers of successful enterprises. It is a great way to scout out future employees. So it is good to join professional associations, attend the social gatherings, and treat every one as if they are your next boss because maybe one day they will be. Or at least they might be the one helping you climb up the next rung of your career ladder. Always be on your best behavior; people do notice. You especially want to always put your best foot forward around professional associates with whom you want to be associated with or wish to work for in the future.
#5 Mind your manners.
That said, watch what you say, eat and drink. Stay away from controversial subjects like religion or politics. Do not tell off color jokes or stories. Likewise, avoid gossip and hearsay. Always speak well of others. Find safe, common ground and keep your conversation along those tracks. Keep an eye on your table manners and watch your alcohol intake at social gatherings. If you believe getting drunk and acting silly makes you popular and gains you friends, you are sorely deluded in the business world. Remember, people are always watching you, taking mental notes and making judgments about you, your actions and your character.
#6 Good impressions count.
When you make a good impression on professional colleagues, it does not go unnoticed or is easily forgotten. You want to put yourself in the situation that the next time you are looking for a job you can call the president of a competitive firm and your call will be gladly accepted because they are eager to learn you are available to join their firm.
For more information, visit: http://www.sequencestaffing.com.
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