Saturday, February 21, 2009

We have ways of making you talk.

This morning I talked with a young man who is going through a rather grueling two days of interviews. At one point he was feeling fatigued and bit dismal, allowing that he was having second thoughts about some of the people with whom he was interviewing. I reminded him of four things.
  1. You are interviewing THEM as much as they are interviewing YOU. No matter how bleak the economy, job applicants have to remember that one-half of the purpose of an interview is for applicants to get more information about the people with whom they will be working. So, you should talk, but be sure that they talk, too.
  2. Being uncomfortable in an interview in very normal... in fact, it is unusual if you are comfortable. Too often, candidates make the mistake of thinking that the discomfort is a sign that they did not do well or that the interviewer didn't like them. Over the years, I have come to realize that interviewers are often just as nervous as the interviewees. Think about it... they will have to live with their choice.
  3. Every interview is practice for the next interview. Most of the time, I am reluctant to give a student feedback on his or her "interviewing style" because what I think is distracting or critical, may not be important to the interviewer at all. I do, however, recommend that students practice over and over and over. I'm not sure that practice makes perfect, but it sure gets you closer to perfect.
  4. The world is full of qualified candidates and there is no foolproof secret to making an impression on an interviewer. (See #3 above) The world is also full of really cool jobs and you have to remind yourself before, during, and after an interview that this job is not your only option.
Ultimately, the only thing close to a secret way to ace an interview is to be yourself, because if you get the job, that will be the personality that you bring to work.

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