Developing Your Career

How You Present Yourself Can Trump What You Present

By Greg Simpson on November 1, 2012

Everyone wants the inside track on what hiring managers are looking for in an interview.  And it might not be what you think.  Sure, they’re assessing your qualifications, experience and education, but they’re also focusing on intangibles – qualities such as likeability, sincere interest, preparedness and a positive attitude.  Bottom line: how you present yourself is just as – if not more – important as what  you present about yourself.

In his recent Inc. article 9 Things You Wish Job Candidates Knew, Jeff Haden outlines the top characteristics hiring managers are quietly considering in the interview process. With hiring managers interviewing so many candidates, Haden maintains that a key factor in the interview is often quite subjective – the overall impression left with the hiring manager. He calls these “hooks.” Hayden explains, “In short, I may remember you by ‘hooks’ – whether flattering or unflattering – so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Better yet, your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time, or the huge sale you made.” He suggests that you have two “hooks” in mind for every interview.

What two “hooks” are you leaving with the interviewer? Rather than being remembered as “the boring guy who talked too much” or “the arrogant know it all,” strive to leave the interviewer with a favorable impression that makes you a more attractive hire. By creating the right hook, “That guy who worked his way through school” is now “the candidate with good time management skills and a strong work ethic.” Or “the woman who was a college tennis champion,” is now “the candidate with discipline and a competitive spirit.”

There are many highly qualified candidates for each open position, all of whom think they’re the best one for the job. Make it clear why you are the one they should choose.

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