The Second Most Important Aspect of Interviewing

Another key element to successful interviewing is your attitude. If you want to rise above others with better experience, better grades, or better anything, you will need to work on developing a highly positive work attitude.

Your attitude determines whether you will "make the cut" or be discarded. Remember, there are plenty of competitors with the ability to do almost any given job—especially at the entry level. The way most employers differentiate at the entry level is by candidates' attitude and passion toward the job. Your attitude and passion is what recruiters remember when the dust has settled after they have reviewed ten, twenty, or even one hundred candidates—you were the one who was sincerely willing to put forth your very best effort. If you have the attitude of wanting to do your very best for the company, of being focused on the company's needs, of putting yourself forth as the person who will be committed and dedicated to fulfilling their needs, you will likely be the one chosen.

Attitude is everything.

Why is attitude so important? Because most companies already have their full share of multitalented superstars who care about no one but themselves. Ask any manager who the most valuable member of his team is, and he will point not to the overrated superstar, but to the person who has the "can do" attitude, the person who can be counted on in any situation, the person who truly strives for excellence. Give me a team player who is achieving at 99 percent and I will take her over a flashy superstar who is running at 50 percent efficiency any day of the week. And so will 99 percent of all Hiring Managers.

So don't worry if you are not "superstar" quality. If you can show me, in your words and actions, that you are ready to put forth your very best effort toward achieving excellence, you will be chosen over the superstar.

You can show your winning attitude in the way you present yourself. Incorporate the actual words "positive attitude," "passion for excellence," and "striving to be my best" into your interview language. Then show by your stories and examples how these characteristics are reflected in your life. Show me when and where and how you have put forth extra effort above and beyond the call of duty. Show me how you beat a deadline, how you excelled in a project, or how you made a difference by going the extra mile.

If you can show me, by words and examples, your "can do" attitude, it is you I will hire, while all of the superstars will receive polite rejection letters to add to their growing collections.