Look in the mirror — would you hire you?
If you have been interviewing but are not getting job offers, this column is for you.
Even if we have not met, I feel I know you, because I see people just like you nearly every week. Some of you I meet at professional events. Some I meet for coffee. And some of you schedule individual job coaching sessions with me.
Here are three people I've recently encountered:
• “Marie” is a lawyer who made an appointment with me for interview coaching. I asked Marie to come dressed as if she were going on a real interview. She arrived attired in a somber-looking, inexpensive and ill-fitting suit. She wore no jewelry and no make-up. Her hair was long, dark, straight, and parted down the middle.
• “Roland” is someone I met for coffee at the request of a mutual friend. Roland is nearly 60 years old and has been looking for a position in logistics management for more than a year. As he shuffled to greet me in the restaurant lobby, his shoulders drooped and he looked weary. His teeth were so yellow that my first reaction was to expect bad breath.
• “Tim” is an engineer I met at a networking event for professionals. At age 33, Tim is about 50 pounds overweight. We were introduced to one another in a warm room jammed full of people. Tim was visibly sweating. Being an introvert, he found it difficult to make eye contact when we talked.
When you read these descriptions, it is easy to discern why each of these people is not getting job offers.
Marie may have known how to present herself in front of a jury, but she certainly did not know how to do so on an interview. In fact, when I suggested that she needed a bit of a makeover, she was appalled. She insisted the content of her responses to interview questions was all that mattered. But, I informed her, this is not a court of law. This is the real world, where interviewers take into account the candidate's image, presence, body language, attire, and all sorts of qualities that may seem to have little to do with being able to perform the job at hand.
Roland obviously needs to come across as being more energetic and to get his teeth whitened.
Tim should lose some weight and get more comfortable talking with others in professional settings.
But how about you? If someone were to size up the impression you are making on interviews and in networking settings, what would they say about you? That's a hard question, because we all have our weaknesses, and as human beings, we tend to ignore our liabilities.
In order to overcome them, we first have to identify them. Then, we can take steps to change them or, at least, to temporarily mask them.
So, if you've been interviewing with no success, what can you do to change your outcome? First, look in the mirror to do a head-to-toe, honest, self-analysis. Then, videotape yourself walking and talking at an imaginary networking event.
Finally, with the help of a trusted friend or professional, do a practice round of interviewing. Solicit truthful feedback on how to improve. When the person gives feedback, don't make excuses or get defensive.
After all, once you've passed the “first impression” hurdle, you will be glad to know that your answers really do matter.
Chris Posti, president of Posti & Associates in Pittsburgh, is author of “The Shortest Distance between You and Your New Job,” available on Amazon.com. Email your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed, dangerous homicide suspect
- Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
- Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
- Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
- Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
- Warrant issued for man accused of killing Brookline woman
- Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
- Emails among Governor Wolf’s aides reveal concern over AG Kane
- Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
- Traded after Stanley Cup, Saad not alone in being dealt after title
- Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions