Posts tagged " interviews "

How can I best ace a job interview?

March 5th, 2019 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 7 comments

Hi Rabbi Lapin and Susan Lapin,

I am a great follower of TCT ancient Jewish wisdom. It is a great show and most importantly inspiring for life. I have a quick question.

I have graduated with my MS in mechanical engineering, but still I am facing difficulties in  finding a job. Could you please give some useful tips on how to sell.

All the best for your works. God bless your family,

A. J.

Dear A. J.,

Congratulations on earning your MS in engineering.  Unlike a degree in gender discrimination in Russian literature, your degree is a real accomplishment. But, and it’s a big but, a company is not hiring your degree, it is hiring a complete person who possesses a degree.

Potential employers want to know much more than merely that you can solve differential equations.  They want to know about your integrity, your intelligence, your persistence and grit, your resilience and optimism, and they want to know your loyalty.  A piece of paper proves your degree but these other equally important characteristics can only be sensed by an interview.  Therein lies the importance of the interview and in being really thoroughly prepared for that interview.  It is in the hope of discovering these qualities that your interviewer will ask you many questions that seem to be quite disconnected from engineering.  It is your total demeanor that will offer the interviewer clues to your entire personality.

So we agree, indeed you do have a quick question; unfortunately, we don’t have a quick answer. But we will try to guide you towards a path to the answer.

We aren’t clear whether you are talking of learning how to sell yourself in job interviews or whether you are thinking of entering the profession of sales. Many of the same tips apply to both areas.

Whether you are selling yourself and your skills or a service or product there is one important concept that you need to keep in mind. While obviously, you need and expect the salary, fee or commission to be paid to you, your focus during the interaction needs to be on how you are benefiting the other person. How will this company be better off if they hire you? In what way will your customer’s life improve if they purchase this item from you? Why is it in the person’s best interests to form a relationship with you?

Once you believe in what you are selling you want to set yourself up for success. A vital feature of sales (and job-seeking is a sales job as well) is resilience. You have to be able to bounce back from rejection. After every job you don’t get or sale you don’t make, you should analyze what you could have done better, but then you pick yourself up and make another effort. It is worth doing mock interviews/exchanges with a trusted mentor who will give you feedback on ways you can improve.

Whether you are interviewing for a job or whether you are in a sales meeting with a potential customer, your most important tool is your mouth.  Are you projecting your voice confidently?  Are you articulating your words clearly?  Are you using the best vocabulary?  Do a mock interview with a good friend and video tape your performance. Carefully study it and identify areas needing work.  Our book Thou Shall Prosper addresses the details of how to increase the effectiveness of your communication. 

We urge you to invest sufficient time and energy in research.  So many applicants squander job interviews by failing to know enough about the company with which they are interviewing. Similarly, knowing as much as possible about the sales prospect with whom you’re meeting can spell the difference between success and failure. 

No matter if it is your engineering skills or a kitchen appliance, people are more likely to do business with you if they know you, like you and trust you—or know someone else who does. When we moved to a new city, we didn’t open the yellow pages to look for a doctor —we asked our friends. We do the same thing when we’re in the market for a new refrigerator and, yes, for a new employee.

Be a part of your community and of as many lives as you can.  Don’t forget that most jobs are filled via personal introduction not advertisements.  Most companies prefer to hire friends of existing employees and often reward those employees for suggesting candidates.  Ask trusted relatives and friends how you come across in social interactions and listen non-defensively to their responses. We do have an audio CD that we recommend to you: Prosperity Power: Connect for Success. It is on sale this week and is chock full of recommendations for ways that even introverted and shy people can expand their circle of connection.

Wishing you the best in whatever you pursue,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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