Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I’ve recently coached several vastly different people for interviews and in each case, the before and after were remarkable. I’d like to pass on some things they learned from our sessions.
1) Remember: Bring Your Personality
So many people feel they have to strip away their personality as soon as they don their interview clothes. Not so… Many interviewers sit in a room all day talking to job applicant after job applicant. Imagine how boring that might be. Bringing your personality to the interview is one way to be memorable.
Instead of - walking in as though you’re going to a firing squad, sitting down, folding your hands and staring at the interviewer awaiting questions.
Try - walking briskly in, (always give them a few seconds to “check you out”), sit toward the front of the chair with your chest slightly forward. * SMILE and start the conversation yourself! Comment on their office, something their wearing and yes, maybe even the weather. As long as your comment is positive and authentic, it could really serve to break the ice and make you both feel more comfortable and engaged.
*To learn more about body language, check out my nonverbal communication video series
2) Remember: It’s a Conversation not an Interrogation:
There’s a tendency for people to make interviews like one person tennis games. The interviewer serves, the interviewee gives a one sentence answer which lands with a thud on the other side of the net forcing the interviewer to bend down, pick up the ball and serve again. That gets a little tiring and would be really boring to play or watch.
Instead of - answering the interviewer’s question with the answer, the whole answer and nothing but the answer.
Try - giving the answer and then bridging your answer to a topic that highlights your strengths.
Q. What social media sites do you feel are essential?
A. I really like working with twitter, facebook, linkedin, digg and several other of the popular sites. (Fine answer but don’t stop there!) I also work with a lot of the applications that simplify and aggregate content because I like to be as efficient and effective as possible. At my last job, I was able to increase the companies’ unique users by 40% in three months. (PAUSE - If there’s no sign that the interviewer wants to interrupt, add) - I know that this company prides itself on being transparent and I’d love to apply my skills toward your social media marketing. (I know this example might sound bogus to real social media folks but I hope you get the picture.)
Of course, you also need to be aware of talking TOO much! (I'll talk about that some other time)
3) Remember: They Really Want you to be Right for the Job:
When you send out hundreds of resumes and lose out on interview after interview, it’s very normal to get negative, discouraged and bitter. Trust me, I know. As an actor I probably got less than 1% of the roles I auditioned for. However, it’s very important not to bring that bitterness into the interview. One piece of advice that really resonated with a current client was something casting directors always say: They really want you to be good! Think of how much easier their job would be if they found the perfect candidate without a lot of hassle. Although it may not seem that way, it really is not in their best interest to call you in just to waste both of your time.
Instead of: Answering questions in a monotone voice that sounds like you’ve said the same thing a million times. (My clients were particularly struck by how their voices and vocal tone came across on video)
Try: Infusing your voice with energy and passion. Letting them know that you love what you do and can’t wait to do it for them.
Instead of: Getting defensive when they ask you about your experience.
Try: Feeling proud of everything you’ve done and grateful for the opportunity to share information that is going to prove how right you are for this position.
And remember you’re sizing them up too. Is this really a place you want to be for the next few years, few months or even few minutes? Remember to ask questions and check out their body language, strengths and personality.
For more tips and answers, leave me a comment here or on facebook or listen to my interview on Blogtalkradio