As a Recruiter and Director of Talent Acquisition I have conducted almost a thousand interviews. As a Career Coach I have taught over 600 students and clients how to interview. I have interviewed candidates from entry-level positions to Executive Vice Presidents. I have witnessed runny noses, wardrobe malfunctions and slips of the tongue. I have also had the pleasure of meeting candidates who are naturals. I call them Naturals not because they were born this way but because they interview so effortlessly. They exude confidence while being down to earth, smart without being cocky and approachable yet unaffected by the process. Naturals are wonderfully fun to interview. Naturals however only make up 20% of the population the majority of people must practice, the good thing about practice is that it does indeed make perfect and you can interview like a Natural as well if you follow these 5 tips!
1) Your attitude is effected by your approach -Be warm, friendly and enthusiastic
Naturals approach interviews as if they are meeting a potential co-worker not a potential interrogator. If you approach an interview as if you are going to the electric chair your fear and anxiety will speak louder than your words. Naturals see interviews for what they are, a conversation. After all, it is easy to be warm, friendly and enthusiastic when you think of it as a conversation rather than life or death! COACHING TIP– The person interviewing you is trying to imagine you working in their company. They are thinking, “Do I want to run into this person at the copier?” Ask yourself if you were hiring would you want to work with a friendly happy applicant or a negative Debbie Downer?
2) You can’t answer questions about yourself if you don’t know yourself – Be an expert on YOU
Naturals are keenly self-aware and are directed by purpose. Self awareness doesn’t happen by accident. Naturals know themselves because they have taken the time to find out who they are and what they want. An interview is all about answering questions about YOU and it is easier for those who know themselves. No one has cornered the market on self-awareness it is available to everyone, all you have to do is take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want. COACHING TIP– The person interviewing you does not want to be the first person to ask you what your strengths and weaknesses are, that makes for an awkward moment. You should have asked yourself this and all the standard interview questions before the interview. Practice talking about yourself, practice saying what it is you want so you and the interviewer are comfortable. Don’t avoid this step by telling yourself that you are better “on the spot” NO ON IS BETTER ON THE SPOT!
3) It’s not about finding A job its about finding the RIGHT job- Be confident
Since they know what they want, they know who they are and they trust their instincts, Naturals won’t settle, they are not desperate. Confidence comes from knowing what you want. Calm ease emanates from them. Naturals are the prettiest girl at the dance. To them it isn’t about finding A job it is about finding the RIGHT job! COACHING TIP– Research suggests that faking it till you make it actually works. Assertive body language convinces the person interviewing you that you are confident and more importantly it decreases nervousness and makes YOU feel more confident. To fake it, walk like an executive, sit up straight put your hands on the table and make eye contact.
4) Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing- Be self assured by focusing on yourself
Naturals are astute and know there are other applicants however they do not compare themselves to anyone else. Not because they think they are perfect but because they know they are the best version of themselves. When you believe you are doing your best, when you know you are giving your all there is no reason to compare yourself. COACHING TIP- Assuming that everyone is better than you is giving strangers an awful lot of credit and leaves you feeling less than. Assume instead that you are just as qualified, just as bright and you are a fierce competitor. Stay in your own lane because comparison to an imaginary nemesis will mess with your head and distract from the goal of being the best version of YOU.
5) Your job is to interview them as well- Be interested
Naturals know that it is the recruiters job to find a great employee and it is their job to find a great company. Naturals hold up their end of the conversation by participating equally by asking questions throughout the interview rather than just at the end. There is a sense that they are engaged and cooperative because they are also a decision maker. Naturals don’t wait to be asked, they are proactive. Educate yourself on the company, job description and person interviewing you so you can ask thoughtful questions. COACHING TIP– The person interviewing you does not want to feel like they are pulling teeth the whole time, participate in the direction of conversation and show your interest. Don’t reserve your questions for the end. – Anna Papalia Life & Career Coach
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