Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Little Things That Mean A Lot

Last night, I had the chance to speak to the OSU chapter of PRSSA It's probably my favorite group to speak to. They were an awesome audience with lots of questions when we finished.

I discussed making a good first impression, specifically during a job interview (since that is on the mind of most of the students). Here are some highlights.

Be prepared

  • If you're job hunting, have a interview suit ready to go, and keep it dry cleaned.

  • Research the organization, so you can give specific answers to questions. Everyone knows they should do this, but lots of people skip this step. Use it as an opportunity to set yourself apart.

You had me at hello...

  • Know the interview starts the moment you talk to anyone from the organization (30 minutes before the interview or 30 days before the interview).
  • Be nice to the front office staff, they can make or break it for you.

You can't predict the future... or can you?

Obviously, you won’t be able to guess every question they are going to ask you. But you can guess a few. Regardless of whether you script answers or basically wing it, there are a few standard questions you will want to moll over beforehand.

The standards include "What is your greatest strength?" "What’s your greatest weakness?" and "Why are you interested in this position?"

Time to turn the tables

You’re going to be given the opportunity to ask questions. If you want to impress the interview you need to prepare something more think-y than "Do you have a dental plan?"

Ask questions that will help you decide if this job is right for you. Just because they offer you a job doesn’t mean you have to take it. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Ask questions about the culture, the job, and goals and strategy of the organization.

Put your best foot, and hand, Forward

The last thing we covered was how to give a good handshake, a key to making a good impression.
  • DO stand up and move out from behind any desk, table or chair.
  • DON'T be afraid to initiate the handshake.
  • DO keep your drink in your left hand so your shake isn't cold and clammy.
  • DO grasp thumb webbing to thumb webbing, DON'T shake with just your fingers or the front of your hand.
  • DON'T give the "crusher." Press palm to back of hand instead of top to bottom to ensure your shake is firm, but not painful.
  • DON'T give the two-handed shake to anyone you wouldn't hug. It's too intimate.
  • DON'T give the palm-down handshake, it's domineering.