Congratulations For Getting To This Point
People decide if they like you within two seconds of meeting you. Here is how to make sure your first impression is a good one…
Smile. If you are worried that your smile doesn’t look natural, try standing six inches from a mirror and saying the word “great” in funny voices. This will almost certainly make you smile. The next time you meet someone, think great. A natural smile will form.
Notice eye color. This ensures that you are meeting the other person’s gaze. Poor eye contact suggests you have something to hide. But don’t stare — it may make him/her uncomfortable. Oddly enough, occasionally looking at your hands conveys the impression of active listening.
Use “open” body language. Keep your arms uncrossed and hands unclenched. If you are unsure of what to do with your hands, put them in your back pockets or at your sides.
Point your heart toward the heart of the other person.
Mirror the other person’s gestures and body language. People take an instant liking to those who are similar to themselves. If you meet someone who is loud and talks with his hands, be equally loud and use the same gestures. If the person laughs a lot, do the same.
Ask open-ended questions. Who, what, where, when, why and how questions are conversation starters. Questions beginning with Have you… ?, Are you… ? and Do you… ? are conversation killers. They can be answered with one word — yes or no.
It is important that candidates have reasonably good clarity on the following points. Many of the details should have been included in written job descriptions that your agency provided so that the answers to these questions are known prior to the interview or at the latest at the time of accepting a job offer.
The interview should be a time to gauge the personality fit, and an opportunity to get additional details.
When “scientists” are given exorbitant grants and quoted in papers, it is sometimes for inane studies that have little bearing on reality. One such study looked into how someone conducting a job interview formed his or her impression and image of the applicant: apparently, 55% do so by appearance, 38% by the way he speaks, and only 7% by what he says. I do not know how important or true these claims are. It’s far more useful to follow the procedure outlined here.
Let the employer ask the questions and make the statements, while you sit, listen and observe. Keep your own motion to a minimum, especially any nervous mannerisms. Spot and match the employer’s attitude as much as possible. On a one-to-one basis, you have to eyeball and listen to the employer, and see what he likes or does not like, and then accommodate him or her. You won’t do this if you are busy talking instead of looking and listening. In other words, if you really are a butler and have learned your lessons well, you won’t have any trouble coping with the situation.
The employer will probably provide a job description. Listen, ask questions only to clarify points you really do not grasp, and take notes if needed. Ensure you clearly understand his requirements and your responsibilities; who else is employed and their responsibilities as distinct from yours; and the chain of command in the house.
Usually the salary will be made clear by the agency. If not, only discuss it after you have been accepted. It’s a moot point until then, and can serve to turn off employers if discussed.
One important “don’t” is to avoid bad-mouthing earlier employers; it often signals a bitterness and untrustworthiness to the prospective employer that most prefer not to have in their own home. Whatever openings are made during the interview or afterwards to harp on perceived problems and upsets with earlier employers can easily be skirted around with charitable, or at worst neutrally phrased, statements. There is an old adage you would do well to follow:
“There is so much good in the worst of us
And so much bad in the best of us
That it ill-behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”
Answers to anticipated tough questions should be worked out and drilled in advance, perhaps with a friend, until you know you will not be thrown for a loop when they are asked. “Why did you leave your last job?” might be embarrassing to some, while “How long do you expect to stay on the job, if accepted?” might cause stammering and foot wiggling for others.
In general, if you have gone to the interview with an honest heart, it should be easy enough to answer any tough questions smoothly, as long as you have worked out for yourself what the answer really is. You may need to have the answer pre-packaged into something that, while still being true, is stated in a manner that is acceptable to an employer. “So, why do you want to be a butler? (or P/A, Chef, etc” is a key one to work out for yourself. And if the only answer is “because it pays well,” or “because I like driving your fast cars,” then try a different profession. If you insist on being a butler despite that, then give those reasons-there’s an outside possibility that your honesty may land you the job with some employers after all.
When the interview is concluded, thank the employer (or the employer’s agent) for his or her time, and leave. You will hear back from the agency if you’re accepted, but until you do, keep up the pressure on the other agencies.