The six C’S of writing have always been: Be clear, complete, concrete, concise, courteous and correct. As a Marketing Director for a publishing company, I interviewed many candidates . From that experience, I know that the six C’s go beyond writing; they are the keys to acing a job interview.
First, let me stress how important these six C’s are. As a Marketing Director, I was looking for a marketing assistant. It was the perfect job for someone right out of college. It would give them writing experience, plus marketing skills. How good was this job? I received 200 resumes the first day.
Think about that – 200 resumes. At that point, I started to look for ways to eliminate candidates, to narrow down the field. That is an important point – many times, so many resumes are received, that the first step the hiring manager takes is to reduce the field of candidates.
And that is why the six C’s are so important – mess up on just one and that gives the hiring manager an excuse to cut you from the list of candidates. That’s bad for you, but good for him or her – as it gives him or her fewer candidates to look at.
Now, let’s look at the six C’s.
Clear: Do not go in and be wishy-washy. Don’t act like you can live with or without that job. That job the employer is offering you is the most valuable thing he has to offer. Think about that. He is proud that he has built up his business, he is proud that he can now expand and hire additional people. To the employer, this is a major milestone in his or her business development. Respect his pride about the company and be very CLEAR that you want that job.
Complete: Have complete knowledge of the company you will be working for and have complete knowledge of what the job entails. Doing complete research does not mean scanning their website in a minute or two. Have complete knowledge of that company. Are they public or private? What are their main markets? What has been the major impetus behind their growth? What is their mission statement? Who heads that company? How is their stock price? Having complete knowledge means digging and digging for all the information you can find on that company. You can never know too much about a company. You will look unprepared if you know too little.
Concrete: Don’t be vague. Don’t say, “I want to work for this company because I hear it’s a good company? Be specific – give concrete examples – what have you heard about that company? Do not say, “I can be a great asset to you company? Really? How? How does your background, training , experience make you a perfect fit for that company – again, give a specific example. Be Concrete. Don’t say that in my last company, I increased sales by ten percent. Really? How did you accomplish that? By hearing your specific examples, the employer finds out how you approach and solve challenges. Remember – give concrete, specific examples of your experience.
Concise: Most interviews are conducted in a limited time period. During this time period, the employer wants to find out as much about you as possible. Do not give long, rambling answers. This shows that you have a chaotic, disorganized thought process and why would anyone want to hire you? Give clear concise answers that show “you know your stuff.” It is okay to pause and think about your answer – it is far better to take a brief pause and give a clear, concise answer than it is to jump right in and ramble on for five minutes.
Courteous: I hope this one does not need a long explanation. Be respectful. It is far easier to like a courteous person than one who is rude and arrogant. Thank about that when you meet the interviewer and when you answer questions. Being courteous ranges from a firm handshake and good eye contact to something as minor as remembering to turn off your cell phone before entering the interview.
Correct: Do not make things up. If you don’t know the answer, don’t B.S. Simply say, I do not know. Do not pad your resume. Do not put yourself in a position where your credibility is question. Double-check resumes and cover letters, plus information about the company. Be correct; don’t let them question your professionalism.