Can luck get you an interview or a job? Well I guess that all depends on how you define luck. I was inspired to write about this topic while driving to Cincinnati to do interviews for our new sales office. Instead of channel surfing the radio for 6 hours, my wife got me some books on CD. One of those books was “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. His book got me thinking about the passion that I have for what I do. I recommend this book to anyone as it is very inspiring.
Before I give you a definition of luck, I want to go over some fundamentals first. As Randy stated in his book there are 22 football players on the field and only 1 ball, so what are the others 21 players on the field doing when they don’t have the ball? They are doing the fundamentals (blocking/tackling) and those are what win the game. There are some of the fundamentals you need to do before you walk into an interview. I am not coming up with any new ground breaking material here, but I am amazed at how many people don’t know the basics of preparing for an interview.
Top Ten Fundamentals to Prepare for an Interview
- Practice what you want to say. Only you know your resume best and the experience you have, so rehearse going over the highlights of your career.
- Bring an updated resume. Many times a resume taken from a job posting website has terrible format when printed and can be difficult to read.
- Resume Presentation. By this I do not mean give the prospective employer a resume in a folder, but be able to take it out of a nice folder folder. This folder should be clean and organized and not have papers sticking out all over the place. I don’t want to see how disorganized you are before I even start talking to you.
- Prepare questions you want to ask ahead of time. It is ok to be nervous and not have a great question off the top of your head. If you have questions written down, you have a list of “go to questions” in case you get stuck and don’t know what to ask.
- Research the company. I cannot believe how many times I have asked prospects what they know about the company or position and get the answer “nothing really, I was hoping you could fill me in on it”. I get it and have been there before, sending out so many resumes to different companies that you don’t even know where your resume is anymore. On a notepad, make a list of companies that you have applied to, what they do and the position they have available. Social media can be a great place to learn about the company culture, what is going on in the company, and possibly more about the position.
- Dress to impress. Always dress above what you think you should wear. If you know they are business casual then show up to the interview with a shirt and tie or a suit if you have one. Seeing someone dressed in a tee shirt and blue jeans doesn’t look professional and it says that they don’t care enough to take the time to prepare for the interview.
- Give a good firm hand shake. Don’t give a “fish out of water” hand shake. Before you go for the hand shake, nonchalantly wipe the sweat off your hand on your pant leg so you don’t put your nervous sweaty hand up for grabs.
- Have good posture and body language. Sit up straight and don’t slouch so far down in the chair that you could slide out. Be attentive, sit up straight, look the person in the eye and give them your attention.
- Get next steps. If you think the interview went well, ask about the next step in the interview process. You need to show some initiative and say that you are interested in the company and job and would like to know what happens next.
- Take the time to send a hand written thank you note. In today’s digital world giving a personal touch has gone by the wayside and been replaced by email and text messages. When is the last time you received a letter in the mail, that wasn’t a bill, and thought how nice it was that someone actually spent the time to put pencil to paper and put their thoughts down?
So to wrap it up….can luck get you an interview or a job? Yes, I think so, as long as it is the definition of Roman philosopher Seneca. He describes luck as the crossroads “when preparation meets opportunity”. For you to get the opportunity and get the interview or job, make sure you know the fundamentals of an interview to land that job. Now I have to ask, “Are you feeling lucky?”