Here’s some good interview tips when you sit down in front of a panel:
- Use first names. Most people only want to talk about themselves. Me, me, me…. WRONG! On a single sheet of paper, as large as possible, you write down the interviewer(s) name – and refer to that person by FIRST NAME. “You know, Jim….” This is powerful – since people that are referred to by their first name are friends, this tends to break down walls.
- Clarify. When they ask a question, ALWAYS ask them to clarify that to narrow scope. This shows you’re listening and gives you time to respond. To a question about what you’d do if it started to rain, you say – “You know, Jim, I want to know what the nature of the rain is and what time of day it’s raining.”
- Have 3 STAR stories, memorized. A STAR story is a Situation/Task/Action/Result, about 20 second long success stories – SPECIFIC to that position. “What I did with the team was… the result was we figured it out.” Keep them short but powerful.
- Always be closing. For your close, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, say something like – “First of all, I’m so excited about the opening and to meet the team. In the short term, if I was to come onboard, what do I need to accomplish for you in the first 60 days?” Then go back to your STAR story and tell them you’re confident you could do that. Your second question is, “Over the next year, what do I need to do to get you a gold star with your boss? Is there a project or initiative that you’ll need me to take care of?”
- Handshake. Look them in the eye, a firm handshake, “Hey, thanks so much, I would like to work with and learn from you.” That phrasing is very important. There’s going to be people you’ll meet that’ll feel threatened by you – if you use the word “learn from”, that is saying you’re humble and ready to learn – as a subordinate, not a threat.
Does this feel sneaky? Dishonest? It shouldn’t. You genuinely do want the position, right? And isn’t it in everyone’s best interests to keep your responses short and not fill the room with a lot of hot air? If you are projecting the image of who you are, that’s not dishonesty – it’s putting your best foot forward. These tips came from a life coach – a psychologist – and a friend of mine paid thousands of dollars for these five tips. Try them, and see if you don’t have easier interviews that actually go somewhere.