So you scheduled an interview. You want to communicate that you’re reliable, but you don’t know how. Here’s the secret: the only way the company will be convinced of your reliability is if you pass ‘small trials’. Employers want people who do what they say they will, so any part of the interview process should be considered a little test. To start, do your research before the interview. Know the background of the company and of your interviewer. Then come to the interview 15 minutes early. That way, you’ll have time to go to the bathroom or grab a coffee and prepare. During the interview, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, so weave your research into inquiries. If you saw on LinkedIn that your boss used to be the Sales Director of Verizon Wireless, ask him/her how that position compares to his/her current one.
Your small trials are not over after you and the hiring manager part. For example, if s/he asks you for a writing sample, this is a test of your timeliness and listening skills! Ask when you should send the sample by; if you’re given flexibility, send it within 24 hours. And know exactly what your prospective manager is asking for. Were you asked to send an academic paper related to your bachelor’s degree or a blog entry? Is the writing sample supposed to be like a cover letter sent via e-mail? Punctuality and the content of what you promised carry equal weight.
Until you shake on the fact that you’re hired, anything asked of you is a gauge of your reliability. If the boss schedules a call with you at 2:30, call exactly at 2:30. Calling early is a mistake because your boss may be in a meeting. Dialing late puts you in the ‘dead file’. If s/he doesn’t pick up, consider this a test despite that it’s an inadvertent one. Make your voicemail 30-45 seconds long, addressing your boss by his/her first name; also provide your name and number twice in that message. Then be persistent; reach out through another mode of communication. If you don’t get a response within a week, try again. Giving up is not what your potential manager wants to see.
Here’s the bottom line: the best a company is ever going to see from a candidate is in the interview process. So do what you say and set the bar for yourself high. Establish your reliability by preparing for the interview, actively listening to your interviewer, and executing the tasks that are asked of you. Now you’ve built trust and set yourself up for a contract.