Bring Storytelling into Prime Time
An interview is a conversation. Don’t fall into an answers-only rut. Spend time learning to storytell with true prepared stories that highlight your accomplishments.
Need more encouragement? Studies suggest that people remember stories better than other forms of communication. As Mark Twain, himself no slouch as a storyteller, said, “Don’t say the old lady screamed — bring her on [stage] and let her scream.”
In short, an interview is a conversation. An employment conversation is a series of questions and answers. As soon as you answer a question, try following up with a question of your own.
Go in Knowing Your Lines
About 90 percent of candidates “didn’t get the wiki” that their purpose in an interview is to do infinitely more than ask for a job. Not you. You got the wiki.
Your goal is two-fold: First, you want to demonstrate that you are a good “fit” for the organization — like salt and pepper, bread and butter, Jon Stewart and satire.
Second, you’re looking for breaking news on whether the position is really something you want to invest a chunk of your life in.
Leave the Begging to Others
Neediness is one of the all-time deal killers in the job market. Whisper in your own ear before walking in the door: “I don’t need this job. I do need air, food, and water.” Keep things in perspective. Sell your strengths and your ability to do the job.
Employers don’t hire because they feel sorry for you; they hire because they want you to solve their problems.
Share the Stage with Dignity
Generally, you want to participate in an interview as an equal, not as a subordinate of the person conducting the interview. Of course, you should still show courteous respect to the interviewer, especially if the interviewer is a general and you’re a buck private.
Participating as an equal is a subtle matter of self-perception, so remind yourself of your status before the interview begins.
Remember How a Star Is Born
From the moment you walk into an interview room, demonstrate confidence. Your first impression makes a difference. Stand up straight, make eye contact, The same is true when you make a wrong guess at what your interviewer has in mind with a particular question. When in doubt, ask! You don’t lose points in an interview for asking questions when you don’t clearly understand a point.
and offer an enthusiastic handshake with your interviewer. If you don’t remember names well, jot down the interviewer’s name on your notepad as soon as you’re seated. Ditto for any other person you’re meeting with.
Avoid Ad Libbing Ad Infinitum
Although you should always do your share to keep the conversational flow going, droning on loses your audience. Telling your interviewer more than he needs to know can be fatal.
Your stories should be no longer than 60 to 90 seconds, and they must — repeat, must — have a relevant point related to your topic. Stick with your rehearsed stories, your research, your adequate answers, and the questions you need to ask.
You’re looking for an easy give-and-take in your interview without coming across as a motormouth.
Keep in Mind the Interviewer Is Not Your New Best Friend
Don’t make the mistake of being overly familiar. A good interviewer is skilled enough to put you at ease within the first ten minutes of the interview. That doesn’t mean the interviewer has become your best friend. Never let your guard down.
Remember that you’re there to give and receive information about a position that you may want. From start to finish, treat this encounter as the professional business meeting that it is.
Know That Faulty Assumptions Equal Faulty Interviewing
Think about this scene on a stage: The leading lady is supposed to rush to the leading man as he enters stage right; for some reason, she assumes he’ll enter stage left and rushes to an empty space. She looks as though she doesn’t know what she’s doing.
The same is true when you make a wrong guess at what your interviewer has in mind with a particular question. When in doubt, ask! You don’t lose points in an interview for asking questions when you don’t clearly understand a point.
Keep Emotions out of the Interview
Sure, this may be a time of stress in your life. The rent’s due, the car’s on the fritz, or you recently had an argument with your significant other.
Put it all behind you while you’re on stage in the spotlight. Here’s why: The interviewer may at times consciously attempt to provoke you into a temperamental outburst. Don’t fall for it or take it personally. It may be only a part of an overambitious interviewing process.
Remember, your role is to be cool, calm, and collected — so play the part. When emotions enter an interview, failure follows.
Ask Questions That Show You Care Where You Go
You want to be sure you’re getting the true picture of what this job is really about and whether you want it. Arrive with a list of several prepared questions about the company, the position, and the people who work there
Ask questions that begin with “what,” “how,” and “why.” Avoid simple “yes” or “no” questions. Take notes.
Most interviewers are unimpressed by a candidate who has no questions. They wonder whether you are disinterested, have no sense of curiosity, are not too bright — or think you already know everything.