I would venture a guess that next to public speaking, heading to an interview comes a close second in "most feared" activities! Rather than a banquet room full of listeners, one has an interview panel, but that audience may hold your future in their hands!
If they like you, they vote in your favour and if not, well, you'll likely never hear from them. Such is the typical recruitment pattern.
BUT, and this is a big "but," there are strategies to use that will boost your ability to influence the interview panel in your favour. Here are a few!
1. Conversation. Don't view the interview as an inquisition. It is a conversation. Like the fellow in the photo above - he is clearly having a conversation. His demeanour is friendly, relaxed, and he comes across as a full participant. That's what you should aim for in your interview.
2. Personality. In order to come across as someone who is having a conversation, you must inject personality into your replies and conversation. Sticking to an obviously memorized answer won't fit this idea. Trying to muddle your way through an answer that has you stumped also won't do it. Rather than muddle, just say that you are drawing a blank and will reply to that question later; and rather than memorize, you must develop "stories."
3. Stories. I don't mean stories as in "tall tales"; I mean workplace based, factual stories. Here's another way to think of this: support your facts with context. It would be less impressive to say that you are very organized and far more impressive to prove that you are organized by painting a picture, telling a story of a typical day or of a particularly challenging situation that your organizational skills saved.
I can't help leaving you with one more tip. Please don't wear brand new shoes. That 5-minute walk from the local parkade may turn into a 15-minute sprint when you discover that the parkade is full and you have to park down the street. The blister caused by those new shoes will not contribute a sense of calm to a potentially nerve-wracking situation! No, polish up your old pair and spend your money on new shoes once you've landed an offer.
If you need help with wrapping your mind around how one can have a conversation in this stressful situation, or how to make sure your personality comes across (and well), or how to build really great workplace stores, New Leaf Resumes offers interview coaching. Supported by an e-book, it is worth its weight in gold!
- at your service, Stephanie