“It Factor” Between the Two Final Candidates
You’ve probably been there before. You’ve applied for a job, the interview process went well, but at the last minute, the company chose someone else for the position. Why didn’t you get the job? It might have something to do with the “It Factor”, that little something extra that catapults one candidate over the top. Here are some of the characteristics that go into companies choosing one candidate over another.
- Fitting In- Believe it or not, fitting in is one of the main factors in who gets hired and who doesn’t. Company culture is different everywhere. Even if your application, skills, resume, and experience all fit the position, you won’t get hired if you don’t fit the company culture.
Finding, hiring, and training new hires is an expensive undertaking for any company. It is vital that they find the right candidate for the job to save time, money, and keep a harmonious atmosphere in the company. Likeability has a lot to do with this aspect, as do attitude, work style, and life goals. The way to get a leg up on the competition is to be warm, personable, and go after jobs at companies you admire and appreciate.
- Attitude is Everything- The way you approach the interview process will say a lot about your attitude. This can be difficult for many candidates to master. You will need to be confident, but not arrogant, humble but not timid, knowledgeable but not a show-off. Practicing these skills with friends, family, or even in front of the mirror will help you find the right balance.
- Having Hidden Soft Skills- Every position requires a specific set of skills for continued success. Some of these skills are things you are trained to do like operating certain software programs or understanding analytics or computer graphic design. These hard skills are how you get to the interview process. However, those hidden skills like creativity, communication, and collaboration make a huge difference.
Executives claim again and again that soft skills are the top talents they look for in candidates. If another applicant beat you out of the job, you might be seriously lacking in these skills. In order to get the job, you need to be proficient in both sets of skills and be able to showcase your talents.
- Preparedness- Being ready for you interview and showing previous knowledge about the company can really put you over the top. Candidates who have done research on the company they are interviewing with show deep interest and commitment to the job. Hiring executives will appreciate the extra effort and be more likely to hire a candidate with a knowledge of the company and desire for the position.
- Enthusiasm- Sometimes employers will offer both candidates a job, simply to measure the interest and enthusiasm of the applicant. Someone who is excited to work is going to be a much bigger asset than a candidate who is mildly interested.
- The Beer Test- As the interview process is continuing, the hiring manager might take you to dinner or lunch. Their goal is to see how you interact in a casual setting and get to know you better. They’ll want to see if you’re someone they could “have a beer with”, that old adage that describes likability. Employers are looking for someone to stick around for the long haul. If they don’t like your personality or feel comfortable around you, it’s likely their staff won’t feel comfortable with you either. This doesn’t mean you should drink beer or alcohol. Be smart and showcase your personality, not your drinking skills.
- Social Media Presence- Whether we like it or not, our social media presence is now a part of our job application process. Even if you don’t have a social media presence, it can be counted against you. Employers want people who have skills in the digital world, but not people who log their every emotion, drink, or use vulgar language online.
When you join a company, you are no longer representing yourself, you represent the company too. Your future employer may use your online presence to decide between you and the next candidate. One rule of thumb to follow is to “Grandma Proof” your pages. Are the images, ideas, and words on your pages something you’d feel comfortable showing your grandma? If not, clean them up quick.
Create the “It Factor” in You
No matter what your degree, personality, or social skills, you have your own “It Factor”. What is your “it factor”? It is simply the way you shine, like:
- Being genuine.
- Showcasing your skills.
- Displaying your soft skills (creativity, communication, collaboration, or attention to detail)
- Communicating your passion.
- Being prepared and knowledgeable for the interview.
- Showing your personality with confidence.
While these steps won’t get you every job, they will get you the right job. Ideally, you want to get a job where you feel valued and comfortable. You want to work with a company where you can grow and thrive. Using these tips will help set you above the other candidate and help you find the right position for you.