Have you ever listened to your recorded voice and catch yourself, “Oh my gosh, I sound just like my mom!” Then you find yourself talking with a lower voice or slower to correct what you think is just plain wrong? It’s not that different with an interview. Right along with Sight and Smell; Sound is a powerful influencer.
The first thing that normally comes to mind when we think of sound and how it relates to our interviewing performance is how we answer questions. That is a very true statement, but have you thought of how the following might influence your interview as well?
- Noisy jewelry.
- Noisy shoes.
- Drinking from your thermos or 64oz Big Gulp.
- Grinding your teeth.
- Your cell phone vibrating in your purse or pocket.
- The tone of your voice when you introduce yourself.
- Clicking your nails or pen.
- Tapping your feet on the floor.
Yes we all have nervous habits that make up our quirky uniqueness. However there is a time and place to display those and an interview is not one of them. I shared previously that the goal of an interview is to be able for the employer to visualize you in the job; the composed, confident, articulate, professional you.
Being aware of your quirky and noisy nervous twitches is the first step to keeping them under control. You however are not the most objective identifier. This is where a great interviewing coach or mentor can come into play. Sitting down with someone for a mock interview is the best preparation you could ask for. Let them help you identify those twitches so you can work on not doing them. Practice walking into a room, shaking hands and introducing yourself, smile, stand up straight and speak clearly and confidently.
A mock interview can help you recognize if you:
- Mumble or slur your words.
- Over use words such as; um, like, you know, uh, so, and other dead time fillers.
- Grind your teeth.
- Tap your feet.
I know that not everyone feels comfortable having another person practice with them to identify areas for improvement. However, isn’t it better to find out what those areas are from an objective 3rd party than from the employer you are dying to work for? That’s like letting someone you don’t know cut your hair before you told them what style you wanted; not a smart idea.
An interview is a highly subjective moment in time. It’s you telling another person(s) that you’re all that and a bag of chips and hoping they believe you. Your best chance is to bring the most polished, practiced, prepared version of you to the table. The best way to accomplish that is to work with someone to help identify those areas where you don’t sound that way.
A friend of mine came to me for assistance with a job interview. She is a painfully shy young woman who has difficulty putting herself forward. We practiced question after question; she had her answers down and she was ready for whatever they asked. All she had to do was be able to walk in the door, shake a hand, smile, make eye contact and introduce herself. She didn’t think she could do it.
So what did we do? We went shopping! I took her to the mall to buy a new outfit for the interview and for each person that came up to us in the stores, she had to say, “Hi, my name is Billie, it’s so nice to meet you.” and shake their hand. I thought she was going to kill me but; 3 sales clerks, 2 cashiers and one waitress later, she had it down.
Yes she got the job, yes she still chides me for putting her through it and yes she credits the preparation, identification and practice to her success.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Identify the areas for development, practice how to improve and then nail the interview!
Read part four “Touching and Tasting in an Interview, WHAT?” of the sensory series.