Get inspired by interviews
Embrace change! Not only is change beautiful, but we all need it in order to grow, to learn and to energise ourselves on a daily basis. If you follow our blogs or chat to us on Twitter, you’ll know we’re advocates of working in environments that inspire you. That means not allowing yourself to stagnate or become complacent about (or depressed by) the pattern of your life. Your life is worth so much more – so aim to fill it with passion.
If you’re not content with your lot, you may feel compelled to make positive change in your life. What’s stopping you? Fear of the unknown? Don’t let a little thing like fear hold you back…
“Starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage
I’m standing up, I’m-a face my demons
I’m manning up, I’m-a hold my ground
I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now!
Sometimes getting inspired involves facing your personal demons and tackling a change of job direction or career. If that’s you taking the leap, put yourself in a position where you can pick and choose your options. Being canny with your interview technique is a good start, and we’re here to help – taking inspiration from songwriters to help you remember the most important bits. Well, what’s more inspiring than music?
1.DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHOW YOUR STRENGTH
“It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival.”
Got an interview looming? Bring it on! You’re an amazing force, so when the time comes, don’t be afraid to show it. Show you’re confident, stand up straight, keep looking up (avoid the ground, we’re not interested in that today), make eye contact and when you shake hands, do it with a firm (but non-violent) confidence. The term ‘first impressions’ doesn’t exist for nothing – those first moments can be the difference between a YES and a NOT TODAY, THANKS.
A ‘please employ me’ attitude never wins prizes. Be the eye of the tiger, be cool, be calm and work through questions in your own time. You know you can do the job – so channel Rocky and exude that self-belief in an authentic way.
2. DRESS YOUR CONFIDENCE WELL
“They seek him here, they seek him there
His clothes are loud, but never square
It will make or break him so he’s got to buy the best
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion.”
Work fashion has had some bad press lately, but as with many things, compromise can always be made. For your average interview (there are of course exceptions), smart casual is generally the norm – but be aware of the specific dress culture of the new environment you’re dealing with. You don’t have to be in designer-wear to impress, but aim to look well turned out. If your mother would approve, that’s usually a good start.
3. ABSORB AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN
“Listen to my voice. And please try to understand.”
From the second you shake hands with your interviewer, information is going to start coming your way. Listen to that information, read the signs (both direct and indirect) and be like a meerkat on high alert. Missing out on information or not listening to questions properly makes you likely to miss out on opportunities to shine.
PS. Whilst on high alert, remember to be aware of what your face is doing. Just saying.
4. EMBRACE THE SOUND OF SILENCE
“Fools” said I
“You do not know, silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you.”
Silence is actually OK. The kinds of people who fill in the gaps with needless chitchat are usually nervous, ill-prepared or trying to cover something up. Your interviewer will be well aware of this. If your interviewer starts growing a beard, that’s a sign to speed things up – but taking a little time to digest new information or prepare an answer is absolutely fine. If you feel you’re being rushed, ignore it, but ask yourself why.
5. YOU’RE NOT TRYING TO MAKE A NEW FRIEND
“We think your head is getting
Bigger and bigger and biggerHey kid, some good advice
To bring your britches down to size
Some modesty would suit you better
So why don’t you give it a try.”EXTREME
You’re in an interview to talk business, not to make a new buddy. If you’re prone to being over-familiar, rein yourself in by mirroring the tone of your interviewer. By all means bring energy, enthusiasm and humour into the mix, but make sure you get the volume levels right.
6. BE ELOQUENT
“But you ain’t gotta say too much
Ain’t gotta say too much
I can read your body language
You ain’t gotta say too much
I can read your body language.”
Of course you’re going to use professional language during your interview, but always be aware of your body language too. Listen to the questions, answer them as thoroughly as you can.
Be aware of how your interviewer uses open and closed questions and respond accordingly. An open question will mean they want an informative answer.
Smiling is OK, as is nodding, and appreciation of any humour that comes your way.
7. TALK ABOUT YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
“Lookin’ like a lily on a lake;
Talk about a bird learnin’ how to fly
Makin’ all the music he can make.”
If your interviewer asks for examples, they are asking ‘behavioural interview questions’ designed to work out how suitable your skillset and experience is to the new role. Make sure you answer these well, talking about your past achievements.
Don’t confuse this with blowing your own trumpet. There is a time for modesty, and this isn’t it. Your interviewer isn’t a mind-reader, you’ll need to convince them why you can do this – and provide solid evidence to back it up. Go on, be a peacock and give your tail feathers a shake.
A FINAL NOTE
This lighthearted posting contains solid (and quite standard) interview guidelines, but they’re useless if you’re not prepared. Prepare by reading the job posting well, matching your skills, providing a top-notch and error-free CV and cover letter, understanding what’s required of you and providing compelling and relevant responses both on paper and in person. If you can, try and find out about your interviewer too.