Remember the times when your mother corrected you about your manners, or told you to follow your heart, or reminded you to wait your turn to speak? It turns out her hard work will benefit you well-beyond childhood. When it comes to up-leveling and nailing an interview, your mother truly knew best.
Mind your manners
Let’s face it, job interviews are stressful and the pressure makes it easier to overlook good manners. Concerns about dressing to impress and having all the right answers can take your focus away from the basic graces of human interaction.
But what mom taught you about manners pays off in interviews. Saying “please” and “thank you” in both your written and verbal communications is something that will stand out to your interviewer.
While saying “thanks” may seem like obvious advice, 71% of decision makers say that not sending a handwritten thank you after an interview was the key factor their decision to say “No” to a candidate!
As a career coach, at least once a week an executive in a job search tells me they did not send a handwritten thank-you note after an interview. Or that while they did thank the hiring manager, they neglected to thank the other people they met with during the interview process.
When saying thank you, creative expressions of appreciation can set you apart from the herd of applicants. One job seeker delivered a thank-you pie containing little signs in it which highlighted her strengths. Her effort paid off and she got the job.
A nursing executive client of mine gave gourmet chocolates to the administrative assistant who spent weeks coordinating travel arrangements and schedules with the hiring team. When she got the job offer, my client asked her new boss what she had done to make herself the top candidate. Her boss confessed it was the chocolates. “The way you treated my AA said it all. I want to work with someone who appreciates people at all levels, not just the top brass.”
Follow your heart
No matter how much money you make, if the work isn’t meaningful, you may not be happy. And isn’t happiness what it’s all about?
Sometimes, the compromises you make for the money really aren’t worth it. You can make money without selling your soul.
Joe Plumeri wrote about the importance of keeping your dreams and passions alive in The Power of Being Yourself. “You can’t do passion halfway. Living your passion means you’re all in. You trust your heart, wherever that takes you.”
Don’t be a creature of circumstance, be the creator of your circumstances.
Listen more than you talk
I get it, when you walk into a job interview, you’re eager to share your ideas and memorized answers. But decision makers report the #1 interviewing mistake made by senior managers and CXOs is: candidates talk too much.
An interview isn’t just about selling your skills, it’s about making a connection with your new boss. Many times, interviewers have information they want to share with you. If you’re focused on making sure they hear everything you’ve prepared, the interview becomes a performance and you may miss out on what they’re telling you about what it’s like to work there and what type of person is a good fit for the job.
Follow what your mom taught you and show that listening is one of your strengths.
Though it may be easy to leave some of what mom taught you in the past, the truth is she may well have given you the keys to better interviews in your future.
Happy Mother’s Day to all those who nurture and grow the children!