Interview Basics

Dennis Schroeder Interviews Leave a Comment

Having interviewed hundreds of individuals over the years there are certain similar behaviors that successful candidates exhibit. Let’s examine several of these behaviors. You have done a lot of work to get to the point were you are being interviewed. Now is the time to get the ball over the goal line. If you are able to adopt a few of these traits you will become a much more competitive as a candidate.

If you do not do this already, the traits of these candidates you can emulate through PREPARATION are:

Conversation vs. Interrogation – An interview should start out as a conversation, a warm up if you will. Don’t worry about getting right down to business. This is your time.

Persona – We have all met people who exude an upbeat persona. Some will struggle with this more than others but everyone can try it.

Higher Energy – Higher energy signals hard worker. I once had the head of Human Resources for the world’s largest soft drink company call me and ask if I knew of any candidates for a role they had open for a while. She said, “The number one trait the candidate must have is high energy.”

Positive Attitude – Try to adopt the frame of mind of YES! Yes is positive. The word yes is one of the fundamental foundations of improvisation used in sketch comedy. If the interviewer asks you how your commute was coming downtown, you might truthfully say, “it was longer than normal but (YES) it gave me some quiet time to reflect on an interesting thing that happened last week.” Oh. What was interesting? NOW YOU HAVE A CONVERSATION STARTED! Just from the word YES!

Have Something Interesting to Say – People who can tell stories are more interesting. Are you having trouble thinking of a story to tell? Try this simple exercise. Ask your self this question. “And, it made me think.” My story – This morning I looked at my favorite pen and it made me think I needed to write a thank you note to some friends who had hosted us for couple of days last weekend. I also remembered getting up early when the lake was calm and water skiing on the glass like liquid. If I had said this in an interview the conversation could then go in a number of directions.

Smile – If a smile does not come to you naturally, work on this with a friend or seek out someone in the Theater Department to help you. Try different smiles and video yourself using these smiles. What might feel is fake and exaggerated to you may actually look quite normal. For those of you who feel this exercise is not authentic, you might explore some of the psychology of behavior change. If you practice changing a behavior it will eventually become a part of you [authentic]. For years I had very poor dental work and my smile was hideous. I worked with a coach who taught me how to use a “warm smile” with my lips closed. This gave my self-confidence a huge boost.

When you arrive for the interview mind you manners and say THANK YOU whenever possible. People who are respectful are more liked. When the receptionist tells you to have a seat say thank you. When the interviewer comes to fetch you from reception, say to the receptionist “thanks for your help.”

Finally, when you meet someone, anyone for the first time, look them in the eye; offer a firm but not crushing handshake and smile!

You will be hired more because you are liked than because of your skills.

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Dennis Schroeder

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