Online Public Speaking

Training & Practice

Interviews - Part 2 of 2

Don’t talk about the job the whole time

This is almost the same as what we just said, but it’s important enough that we separated it. Another VERY valuable interview tactic is to not talk about the job the entire time.

If you do happen to find something in common and spend a half hour talking about it, the odds are good the interviewer will remember you better than the candidate with whom he or she had nothing in common.

Think about it, interviewers often meet dozens of candidates. If the subject is always about the job then they’ll all blend together. If the subject becomes about something unique to the interviewer, you’ll stand out.

Discuss your goals

Interviewers love motivated people, depending on the job.

Some firms have prospective employees answer “profile questions” that are actually psychological profiles to see if the candidate is likely to perform well in the position. As incredible as this may sound, some people are turned down for positions because they may be too capable, or overqualified for the job. The reason is that while the candidate may be likely to perform the tasks associated with the position well, he or she isn’t likely to stay satisfied with the position. Turnover costs companies money due to the expenses of continuously training new people, so most try to hire people that are a good fit for the position right off the bat.

You might expect that we’re going to train you to tell the interviewer what she wants to hear. We’re not. You should be honest within reason about your ambitions. You don’t want to come off like an unmotivated individual, especially if the position would benefit from someone who has ambition. Nor do you want to apply for an entry-level position and boast that you want the CEO’s job.

The moral of the story is to obviously try to apply for the right jobs for you, and to find the right balance of presenting your goals and motivations to the interviewer.

Demonstrate some passion

Interviewers like to hear what prospective employees are passionate about for two reasons. First, they get to know the person. Second, they find out whether the person has the potential to be driven by things in general.

People who become passionate about things outside of work have the tendency to become passionate about things inside of work.

Consider sharing information about some things you are passionate about. Make sure they’re appropriate, of course!

Watch your body language

Audiences aren’t the only ones to detect body language. Interviewers do it also, and some are experts at it.

While an interviewer may forgive some signs of nervousness, they may give “extra credit” for confident body language. At higher levels of position, the interviewer will expect  you to know how to carry yourself.

There’s also a subtle pattern that can occur at times when two people are talking that you should know about. One person sometimes starts “mirroring” the other person without even knowing he’s doing it. One person scratches her head; the other person scratches his head. One person rubs his chin; the other person rubs her chin.

This usually happens because the person in the weaker state of mind becomes very attuned to the person in the stronger state of mind, or because one person is totally “dialed in” to the other person (in this case because his career might be on the line). It’s an odd phenomenon, but it’s real. A sharp interviewer may not discount you if you mirror him, but then again he might start to wonder if you’re inexperienced and insecure if he can get you to mirror almost anything he does!

At other times, it might even be a good idea to intentionally mirror the interviewer subtly. It can make them feel good about the interview for some reason they can’t fully explain. If you’re going to try this, don’t be obvious about it. The critical point here is to find an appropriate balance between blindly following the leader versus finding a style that makes both you and your interviewer comfortable.

End the Interview Well

By the end of the interview the interviewer should feel good about the meeting. You should have a similar feel if you’re going to consider working for the firm.

If you are interested in the position, try to end the interview with a next step for both of you. Of course it’s up to the interviewer to be interested and to want to take a next step, but you’re wise to see if you can help that occur if they’re not saying anything about what happens next.

Say something like “Thanks again for the opportunity to interview. I really enjoyed meeting you. Is there anything else you need to know from me? If not, is it ok if I follow up with you in a few days?” They’ll be impressed and more likely to put you on the list of people to consider further.