by David Wells
Managing Director, Alliance Resource Group
Mastering an interview takes practice. Interview experience leads to increased confidence and a greater chance of landing your dream job. Many resources, including Inc. and Forbes, give practical interview tips for novice and seasoned job seekers. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite tips for upping your interview game.
Manage Your Mindset
Interviews can be challenging for everyone—applicants and employers. Being interviewed can be nerve wracking for prospective candidates. Likewise, conducting interviews increases the workload for hiring managers. Herein lies the key. Be mindful of the company’s motives and highlight your strengths to improve their bottom line. They need you as much as you need them.
As Ryan Holiday discusses in his book The Obstacle is the Way, George Clooney—long before he was a household name—was a struggling actor getting crushed in audition after audition. When he flipped his mindset, his epic Hollywood fame followed. Instead of worrying about what agents and directors thought of him, Clooney tackled each audition determined to provide a solution for the project. How liberating! No longer bothered with being liked, he focused on his craft and how it would influence a film’s success.
Take a cue from George. Spotlight yourself as the main character in achieving progress and prosperity for your potential employer. You have the power to manage your mindset and turn that into positive results.
Tell Your Unique Story
Humans are hardwired to remember stories. When we hear a well-told story, our dopamine receptors fire up, endorphins get released, and our brain stores the information. What does this have to do with interviewing? Everything.
Interviews are opportunities to tell your story. It is your narrative—the better you understand it, the more eloquently it can be expressed. Be creative, courageous and concise. Leave an unmistakingly positive impression on the interviewer’s mind.
Understand (and be able to articulate) where you have been and where you hope to go next. Share personal anecdotes with purpose and clarity. Never interrupt the interviewer to tell your story; trust that the appropriate moment will arise.
“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” — Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
You’ve done all the necessary preparation. You have the right mindset. You are ready for triumph. Not so fast…think about how the interview will finish.
Traditionally, interviews may conclude with the candidate asking about next steps or potential reservations the interviewer may have. This passive communication is not the last impression you want to leave. Gravitate towards a different approach.
Towards the end of an interview, ask about what problems you could solve if you were hired and what concrete achievements would be expected in the next 12 to 18 months. When the employer addresses their concerns or aspirations for the job, highlight something you have done that applies to their specific comments.
This is your chance to shine. Show your interest and ability to effectively solve problems, strategically accomplish projects and earnestly contribute to their team. You have only one chance to stand out and make that first impression. Always put your best self forward.