The best jobs or contracts I’ve had came from conversations initially called a job interview. My theory is most of us dread the interrogative approach. Well, actually, all of us hate interrogations. I wish more employers made an effort to stop the madness.
Some job candidates don’t have a chance to get off the interrogation freight train, a train that has no regard for stop lights, cars, bikes, or humans. It’s a process with fury the size of a category-five tropical storm. In this Psychology Today article, job candidates often expect one of two scenarios: either having a “casual” conversation or being interrogated.
Oh yeah, you know this takes practice, right?
The combination can invite a relaxed and balanced approach to solutions and contributions to the employer’s challenges attractive enough to bring conversation and intrigue from the employer using these suggestions:
1. Show you’ve done the research
If you don’t research the company you are prospectively seeking, you will never know what they need. Talk to several employees (even a recent former employee is helpful) and polish your message according to their needs at the time. Based on what you know, can you anticipate a need? If so, you can speak to solutions your job competition couldn’t.
2. Give your hearers something to hold onto
What two or three problems do they repeat or what recurring problematic themes can you solve? Find ways to bring them up throughout the conversation through stories and examples. The CAR method (Challenge-Action-Results) helps you craft useful examples. Proper research and storytelling that demonstrate experience and skill place them (employer, interviewer, people you meet) on your career journey, and they likely will remember you.
3. Include resolution of business conflicts within your examples
People grow aware of how you will treat them through your scenarios involving other people. They’ll note how you made others feel and relate it to themselves. They’ll remember the tone and the volume, and your eagerness to take responsibility for the problems you resolved.
4. Reflect and be sure you answered all interview questions completely
You are juggling your precise answers and the employer’s information, and it’s possible you have unsatisfactorily answered a question(s). There is nothing wrong with stating you would like to go back and answer an earlier question.
5. Follow up appropriately
Letters and notes as follow-up are great ways to follow up, but find out what kind of communication is preferred. The question is not should you, but how and when is best. Establish the expectations before leaving the meeting for clarity.
6. Hear what they say, and what they won’t say
Interviews are draining. You want to state your potential contributions while attempting to understand expectations. Your work isn’t done when the conversation is over. Reflect on what wasn’t said (i.e., Why did the interviewer ask how many hours do I work a week at my current job?) and what was said. Depending on where you are in the process, you will need to follow up at the next interview or follow up with a call or email.
7. Use your excitement to drive the energy to synergy
A good interview is a good date. The excitement of one person infuses the energy of the other person. If you’re not the one generating the enthusiasm, why would the other person continue? The interest you bring is just as significant as your skills. Candidates do not impress employers with talent alone.
8. Let your personality come through
Your uniqueness offers value in profound ways. One of the unwritten tests of an interview is your primary response to stress (you know interviews are stressful, right?). If your personality shines during a panel or one-on-one interview, it’s likely to leave a positive impression. Although showing your character doesn’t mean a stand-up comedy routine, a little self-deprecating humor can help your likability factor.
A consultant mindset establishes an invaluable relationship with employers, but it comes through the business conversation. You won’t foster a business conversation if you don’t have clarity of your vision of a position delivering what employers want. Confusion can muddy the compensation discussion and create more of a wall than a bridge. Decision makers base their decision on skills and abilities and will hire the candidate who resonates with them the most.