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Most candidates think that the hardest part of the job search is getting an employer’s attention. Interviewing should be easy, as evidenced by the fact that many of my clients tell me, if I can just get an interview, I know I can sell myself!

Perhaps. But what if you’ve had a number of interviews and still haven’t won that coveted new position? Assuming you are ideally qualified, what could possibly be wrong? The simple answer is often that you were unprepared, unenthusiastic, noncompetitive or simply, unlucky. What’s more than likely, though, is that you failed to develop an appropriate strategy.

Did you make eye contact? Were you visibly friendly, confident and enthusiastic about the opportunity? Did you take credit for your achievements and convey your value? If not, why not? These factors are essential in establishing credibility with an interviewer.

During a recent interview coaching session with an executive-level client, I was somewhat surprised that this person, whom I thought I knew, responded thoughtfully to my questions but had a soft-spoken approach that made him difficult to hear although we were no more than 4-5 feet apart.

When I raised the issue, he shared that he was purposefully quiet to make others more attentive. Consider how an interviewer might perceive that strategy. While most people prefer to work in environments where others seldom get angry, we also tend to respect those who speak with authority and have a leadership presence, especially when they are in executive or subject matter expertise roles.

How you want to be perceived on the job is a critical component in developing interview strategy. By all means, be authentic and transparent, but align the strategy with the goal.

 Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC