Masterful Communication: Absolutely Dominate the Interview

Following are my top tips on how to rock in a job interview...

  1. Be early. 15 minutes before is on time. If you are interviewing on a large corporate complex or institutional campus, be in the parking lot no later than 30 minutes before.  Give yourself time to get to the interview room in a relaxed, focused and ready-to-go fashion.
  2. Call beforehand and find out what type of attire your interviewer will be in. Dress at the same level. Your first impression is huge here.  This first impression will be largely based on your face (smile, direct eye contact, friendly) and your attire (polished, ironed, everything-in-place).
  3. Research the company. Strengths. Weaknesses. Early years. Big changes. Future plans. Etc. Memorize some facts and practice discussing the company's industry in conversation form. Be knowledgeable about the company you are seeking to start a relationship with.  This process is just as much about you picking the company as it is the company picking you.
  4. Research the job you want. Talk to someone in that position or someone who used to be. What is the job really like? What are the best parts and worst parts? Most importantly, what skills/attitudes/behaviors are needed for success? Then cross-reference those with genuine skills and strengths that you have. What are the worst days/weeks like and why?  How can you demonstrate that you can handle these down times effectively?
  5. Do as many mock interviews as you can. Have a friend or family member ask you a list of random questions from your resume. Practice putting your answers into one of these three templates: the story structure (answer with a brief, visual, concrete story), the list structure (put your answer in a list of 2-4 items) or the anchor word structure (answer with one word or phrase and then give evidence of why you chose that answer). The most important step here is remembering that evidence is king.  Don't just say you are a good time manager, have good people skills or can handle high-stress situations.  Say that and then tell a story about a time you applied that strength.  Provide evidence.
  6. Maintain an eager (but non-Red Bull) body language. Speak up. Hold eye contact. Have variety in tone (serious, jovial, light-hearted, factual). Lean forward. Take notes.
  7. When discussing a weakness or shortcoming, follow this template: 1. Answer honestly. 2. Discuss how you are working on the weakness or have developed a strength to off-set it.
  8. Stick to your core values, beliefs and standards. Don't be someone who "will do anything to get the job." Demonstrate a willingness to learn, be flexible and grow, but also demonstrate you are a person of conviction.
  9. Be very clear on the top three to five strengths necessary to be successful in the job you are applying for. Work to model or discuss evidence of ownership in the interview.   Provide evidence with Concrete, Visual, Simple (CVS) stories from past work experiences or from your personal life.
  10. Every job involves other humans. Model and discuss evidence of ownership of your people skills. Be gracious. Compliment. Be honest. Demonstrate trustworthiness and credibility. People get hired for their resume, but get fired for their people skills.
A bonus tip is how to approach the job-hunting world in general.  Act exactly like getting a job is your job.  Wake up in the morning.  Get showered and dressed professionally (biz casual is fine). Go to your "sales job" with you as the product. Call more people than others.  Submit more resumes than others. Go to more interviews than others. Work hard to be okay with rejection or delayed responses. Work it and it will work.

(A part of my business is teaching interviewing skills.  Email me if you would like discuss working with me - rhett (at) yournextspeaker.com.)

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