Josh writes on a wide range of subjects but focuses mainly on topics relating to employment and careers. This piece couldn’t have been written without the expertise of the great team at Edison Red.
Here are 5 key points to remember when you have been invited for an interview.
- Be Yourself – not who you THINK they want
Attempting to be the person you think a company needs creates a lot of work for you – and at some point you will be found out. Authenticity is a prized commodity in a world where we can reinvent ourselves on every new CV. Human beings are complex beings who are constantly assessing and reassessing body language, vocal patterns and facial expressions – and for the most part we do this unconsciously. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is for all parties to make a genuine connection.
- Listen for Clues
Listening is one of the greatest skills you can have, not only for that job interview but also for life in general. It’s a simple truth that when you’re listening you are gaining information and insight into the person in front of you. When you are speaking, you are gaining nothing. When we speak we reveal values, judgments and joys. Tapping into those revelations enables you to find connections with the person and the company. When we listen we display body language – we nod our heads, we agree and we smile.
If you are someone who displays those behaviors subtlety, ask a friend to tell you honestly what he or she is feeling when they speak to you and how interested they think you are. Increasing your nodding or smiling, lets the speaker know that you’re interested in what they have to say and so they will tell you more. Open questions can also encourage further engagement. Asking the interviewer to tell, describe or explain more about a topic will illicit further conversation. It’s always worth remembering this simple quote “To be interesting you need to be interested.”
- Personal Disclosure
What we give away about ourselves when we speak tells the listener a great deal about whom we are. Having a conscious awareness of what you choose to disclose and when, can be an incredibly powerful communication tool.
During an interview, prospective employers are looking to see whether you will fit or adapt into the existing culture. It’s often a given that you could do the job, based upon your experience and history gained from your CV and other sources. Disclosing that you run marathons, that you volunteer or that you paint in your spare time helps an interviewer to build up a complete picture of the person in front of them. Every so often your own disclosure will match their own interests or passions – when that happens you will have made a real connection of values. Humans are pack animals and sharing an interest puts you into the pack. We have all experienced this united feeling when we share our love of a film, book or place with someone who had the same experience.
- Own the Space Around You
Many interviews are carefully constructed – where you sit, your distance and position from the panel, the size of the room, and who will ask the challenging questions. The list of possibilities can be endless – and that’s not even taking into account psychometric profiling.
A simple way to give you a strong status in this complex game of chess is to use the space and territory around you. When you arrive for an interview you are entering somebody else’s world, a world they are very familiar with. This in itself can be intimidating. The best way to counter this is to expand the space around you.
Many of you may well be asking how? Well, there are simple things you can do. Moving the chair you sit in – even if it’s only to move and change the angle of its position will give you ownership of that chair. Finding a reason to move in the space will also give you a sense of confidence. You could move to a window to admire the view or a particular painting on the wall. Accepting an offer of a drink will give you a reason to move around the space. All of these will behaviors will signal to those around you that you are comfortable in their territory.
Breathing is often the first thing we alter when we are nervous or the stakes are high. A misplaced breath will affect our ability to think and reason. Before you enter the interview arena sit with both of your feet planted firmly on the ground and breathe in through your nose, until you feel at capacity, and the gently let the breath escape through the mouth. Do this for a minute or so and at the same time take in the surrounding area. This will sharpen your awareness and pull you into the present moment.
Follow these five simple steps to change your interviews forever.