Hello there and welcome to the show! We have a very special episode today because we’re talking some seriously smart strategies around interviews. It’s all about the big day, the prep before the day, how you can nail it and land the job of your dreams.
Specifically, what we’re going to talk about is looking at the success mindset – having the right mindset for the interview. We’re going to look at all the preparation that you need to do, preparation on the day, the different types of interviews, first impressions, succeeding on the day, and follow up.
We’re going to finish by looking at the 3 big mistakes most people make. Please go to the website download the checklist.
What is the success mindset? It is how you get into that really amazing headspace so you feel super calm and super confident. To get into the success mindset, there are few things that I look at: 1) inner voice/inner critic; 2) power posing; 3) visualization and affirmations. Power posing was made famous by Amy Cuddy – a Harvard researcher who also has an amazing TED talk. The important piece for the interview is really understanding how you can get really calm so your brain is all powered up thinking and you can come up with great responses. Power posing involves standing in a powerful pose, standing like Wonder Woman. It changes the chemical composition of your body in terms of hormones.
The second piece is visualization – you will not find any athlete that does not do visualization. Basically you want to tap into your subconscious mind and kind of trick it to success. The best times to do visualization and tap into your subconscious are as you’re falling asleep or as you’re waking up. So the days prior to your interview, imagine yourself going into the interview and leaving the interview room and knowing that you have nailed it. So you can bring up an image in your mind; shaking the interviewer’s hand, feeling really confident and knowing you just gave it your all. Visualization is incredibly powerful.
Body language is how other people perceive you and making that first impression and also for how you feel. The key things are: shoulders back, eye contact and a firm hand shake. When you have your shoulders back you will not only look more confident but you’ll feel more confident. Maintain eye contact at least 60% of the time; 100% might be too intimidation or too less you might appear to be shifty. Hand shake – firm handshake. Other things to be conscious of are the speed and tone of you voice. Gesturing a little can actually power up your brain, but be careful not to throw any wild gestures because it will distract people from what you’re actually saying. Affirmations are also very powerful and work on a number of different levels. Early in the day you can do affirmations anytime. These are really powerful messages to really cement in your mind that you’ve got this, you’re capable, great, and you have value. Any positive message said in the present tense to really reinforce that you are an absolute legend.
The next piece I will talk about is the actual preparation on the day. Don’t rock up too early – it really annoys HR people and Recruiters because they feel bad about leaving you at the reception or because you put their schedule out. Arrive about 5 to 10 minutes is ideal so you can get a feel for the place. Have your journey mapped out. Don’t rehearse on the day. You don’t want to come across as overly rehearsed when you’re in the interview – you don’t want the answers to sound scripted. So you prep on the coming days but not on the day of the interview.
Now we’re going to discuss the different types of interviews that you may experience. There is the behavioural and competency based interview where in which people assess your competencies by asking about previous experience. The rationale is they want to understand your past success and use it as a possible indicator of your future success. Any question that starts with “Tell me about a time...” is a competency based question and it requires certain format in the answer. Going to the interview, you’re going to want to know what the core competencies required are, the ones that you’re going to be assessed on. The core competencies which are the soft skills – leadership, relationship development, negotiation, analytical skills – these are the things that are harder to learn. With a competency based question, you need to answer using the STAR technique which is Situation, Task, Action and Result. Now you might have panel interview, you still have to a similar preparation in terms of being ready to discuss your core competencies. Then we’ve got the cultural interview. Most of the interviews now have cultural aspect. Any of the progressive employers are very much looking for a culture fit. You should know what the values of the organisation are. It’s very important for you also – if you’re going to be happy in an organisation it needs to be a culture fit and your values need to align. The cultural interview is often where you have a second or third interview wherein you meet with the manager, and they just basically want to know if they like you or if they can work with you. In terms of how you prep for the cultural interview, this is pretty similar for all types of interview – you do need to know your values and those of the company. We talked about preparation on the day, now the bigger preparation is getting the position description and get a very clear on what the role is. Get a good understanding of the people who will be interviewing you and the organisation itself. When you get good insights, you can demonstrate your knowledge of the organisation through great questions. You need to do your prep to be able to ask great questions that show insights into the business and also give an insight into you and the way you think. So have those questions ready, know the people that are interviewing, have the position description, know what the core competencies are, know what the values are. If this is a big job, you want to put an extra effort in because if you nail this, you can get off the campaign trail. That means no more job hunting, no more interviewing. If this is the job that you really want then put the time in before, have the examples ready – those specific situations that demonstrates each of the competencies.
Now, what are you going to wear? This varies greatly by the industry that you’re in. When in any doubt go to the side of conservative. If it’s a difference between trendy and stylish – go stylish. Even in trendy organisation, people still appreciate the extra effort. Think about the details as well because that shows that you care and again that first impression you will never get back if it’s wrong. Care for the details even if it’s not overly corporate environment that you’re going into. This is the main event for the day so want to be ready for the main event.
Now the next thing to discuss is first impression. We just talked about how you should dress and make sure to dress appropriately to the industry. And if you dress well, you’re feeling good too. The other important thing is you’re there on time, 5 to 10 minutes early and when you meet the person, we talked about the nice firm handshake and eye contact. At the end of the day you want to likeable – people want to work with people that they like. You want to build rapport the moment you walk in there. And don’t forget the Receptionist – put an effort to greet them. Also, don’t forget to smile, you will make people comfortable. So my top tip for first impression is quite simple one, and that is smile and continue to smile while you are at the interview and if you fumble over word – have a little laugh, it’s okay. The other thing about smiling, let me get this Maya quote right “at the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel”. So bring some warmth into the interview, be yourself, be warm. The other great tip about developing rapport is what goes beyond the first impression – is actively listening. Some interviewers tend to talk too much, so you could capitalize on this opportunity by actively listening. The worst thing is to interrupt, it appears as rude. Listening is absolutely a skill. Actively listening talks about you looking at that person, you are really concentrating on what they have to say, nodding, laughing, and that makes people feel important, you make them feel special. Active listening is a great skill to have in your life.
On the day, just have a good day. Wake up and do some exercise, do your affirmations and visualizations, just be ready and feeling good. Have a healthy breakfast, get some protein to get your brain working, you want to make sure you’ve eaten. On the day, make sure you don’t do additional prep. You’ve got your trip planned out, you rock up 5 to 10 minutes before, get a feeling of the place, concentrate on your breath if you’re a bit nervy, greet the Receptionist, greet the person in the way as we’ve discussed, have your competency answers. Feel free to ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you didn’t catch it. Have you strategic, thoughtful questions ready to ask as well. Try not to get into conversations around salary, those should normally be done prior. If they bring it up, be prepared – do your research prior. Thank the interviewer for the time with genuine smile – be warm, be yourself. Thank the receptionist on your way out as well – it really shows who you are. Thank all the interviewers if it’s a panel interview, never concentrate on one. Don’t ask personal questions. Only offer personal information that you are comfortable sharing. Now, do follow up the next day with a short email. Ask the recruiter about the next steps and you can go back and ask for feedback.
The 3 big mistakes that people make are: 1) they over prepare – people often do too much preparation and tend to concentrate on the wrong things. Don’t over prepare, your answers may sound too scripted. 2) People don’t prepare on the cultural or values piece – it’s so fundamental. Do the research, make sure you looked on the career site and understand what the company values are and get a good understanding of their culture. You want to make sure it’s a place you really want to work in. 3) People don’t have great questions. Make sure you have a couple more questions when the interviewer tells you all about the company and the role. You can ask about the values and strategic goals of the business. Since you’ve done your research, you’re ready to ask insightful questions.
So there you have it, there’s everything for the interview. Also when you nail an interview, you don’t just get it, you nail it then you’re in the best possible position to negotiate a higher salary and/or beneifits– the power sits with you.
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Have a fantastic day, thank you for joining me on the show. Good luck with the interview!