I've coached more than 1,000 clients toward big career changes, so I've learned to tell very quickly whether a person has what it takes to make a major step right off the bat, or whether they'll need some extra coaching. That is, the characteristics of people who always get the job offer are consistent and predictable.
The good news is these characteristics can be learned. Here are the five things that people who always get job offers have in common.
1. They have a network.
I once had a client, we'll call her Mary, who I knew immediately would get every job she applied to. From our first session, I could tell that Mary was popping out of her skin with energy, excitement, and motivation. She came from a big family and loved being social. So when it came to networking into companies, she had no problem. It seemed like she knew multiple people everywhere! And when she got an interview with a hiring manager at the ONE company she didn’t know anyone, a quick LinkedIn search revealed they had three acquaintances in common.
But you don’t have to have a large family or even be particularly social to have a network. Reconnecting with former colleagues, classmates, and friends can be a fun and easy way to build connections. And having insiders pays off. They can give you the straight scoop on the company, put a good word in for you, and help you confirm that this is a place you want to work. You'll be on a faster route to a more effective interview.
2. They look the part.
People who always get the job take care of themselves. They’re well-groomed, their nails look healthy, their shoes are polished, their shirt is pressed, their hair is combed or brushed. They’ve also had a good night sleep before the interview. It's like the difference between a fresh apple on a tree and a smushed-up one with the flies buzzing around it on the ground. The people who get the jobs are those fresh apples.
3. They do their homework and show up prepared.
I had one client tell me that he was concerned about his interviewing skills. But he has never not received a job offer. Yes, you read that double negative right. He has received an offer for every job he’s sought. And that’s 10 years into his career. He does this by researching the company. He learns its history, reads any new public statements the company has made, and finds out who he is interviewing with. Of course, he also learns about the position. Is it new? If not, why is the person leaving? What skills are the company looking for and why? Much of this can be gleaned from the online job description or the initial human resources interview.
After he learns this, he thinks about what he has to offer the company. Where are his skills a match? To prove he has done his work, he writes a one-pager on “What I hope to achieve for the company when I start this job” and leaves it with the interviewer. Even if his written points aren’t 100 percent on target, putting in that effort shows the kind of hard work, determination, and positive contributory attitude that hiring managers seek.
4. They know why the job is a good fit.
As discussed above, people who always get the job know what they have to offer. But just as important, they know what the job they're applying for offers them. This is not discussed directly at the interview, but they are keenly aware that this job will help them create the career they want. They can see a future for themselves at the company, or know that two years in this crazy place will set them up for the future. This job matters to them, and they know it. The interviewer will see that passion and conviction.
5. They're never late.
This goes double for interviews. Get there early. See what’s happening in the waiting room, check out the vibe of the place. Go to the bathroom, fix your hair. Remember, you’re there to interview them, too, so take a good look around and make sure this is an environment that works for you too.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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