It’s very common to hear companies talk about the diversity at work they offer. However, just because a company presents an image of cultural diversity, it doesn’t mean it’s actually committed to creating a truly diverse workforce. Sometimes, a company is more focused on presenting Cosmetic Diversity for the sake of public appearances.
Therefore, if you’re applying to a job that touts the importance of diversity at work, you cannot be certain that the fact that you belong to a minority will help you get the job. Instead of relying on that as your ace in the hole, work hard to sell the best version of yourself to the employer that you can. The following five interview tips will help ensure that the employer understands why you are a vital part of the company’s future.
#1: Find Out What You Can Offer
It’s important to consider that when a company puts out a job advertisement, it's usually trying to resolve a particular issue or find a missing piece in their staffing puzzle. One of the best things you can do on a job interview is to do your homework and research the company ahead of time. Re-read the job ad – what problem does it suggest that the company is looking to solve? How can the skills and education you have to offer help that company achieve the goals and mission statement presented on their website? Explain to the hiring manager how you can help with these issues, were you to be hired. It’s even better if you have an example of how you’ve solved a similar problem at a previous job.
#2: Specificity Is a Necessity
One of the most basic rules of all communication is that being specific is better than being vague, and job interviews are no exception. If you’re asked a question, try not to answer with a vague statement or, even worse, a cliché. Instead, try to relate detailed (but not excessively detailed), specific stories from your employment and education past. Instead of just saying that you are committed to a project once you start it, tell the interviewer a story about the last time you saw a project through from start to finish. This shows the interviewer that you’re prepared, and is a great way to highlight your best qualities.
#3: Be Positive!
It can be very tempting to turn to negativity or blame-shifting when you’re in an interview, especially when you’re forced to ask questions about why you left your last job. Even if your previous boss was incompetent or made your life miserable, you should always find a way to put things in a positive light. Instead of complaining about your last job, talk about how you were interested in a new challenge or felt that your talents could be better utilized in a new field. Turning a negative into a positive demonstrates an upbeat attitude that is very appealing to employers.
#4: Maintain a Confident Appearance
It might be obvious, but dressing the part can be essential to a successful interview. If you don’t own a nice business outfit, it is well worth the investment. Be sure that you are looking your absolute best during the interview; not only does a neat, professional appearance appeal to an employer, but you will feel more confident as well.
Another part of confidence is maintaining an awareness of your nonverbal cues. If you sit up straight and maintain eye contact during the interview, you will seem open and sure of yourself. Leaning too far forward or looking away from the interviewer as you answer questions can make you seem closed off. Finally, don’t forget to smile! This helps you create a connection with the person interviewing you and contributes to a positive attitude.
#5: Expect the Unexpected
Finally, practice thinking on your feet, because you never know what can happen during an interview. Whether it be an unexpected question or brainteaser, or having to perform some type of demonstration of your abilities, employers often like to surprise potential employees to see how they handle unexpected situations. It’s also important to understand that things won’t always go perfectly during an interview – if you accept that beforehand, it can make the whole process significantly less stressful.
While there’s no way to ever guarantee that you are going to be the best candidate for any given position, you can do a lot to help your chances if you follow these general interviewing tips. Avoid relying on the promise of a company looking for more diversity at work; instead, focus on the skills and abilities you have to offer, and you will have a much better chance at landing that dream job.