Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Interviewing Tips

Recently I was asked to give interview tips to someone I've been
working with. As I dug down to recall it previous writing and training
about the subject, I was able to provide him a fresh summarization of
this somewhat difficult topic.

Interviewing is very similar to one-on-one selling. There are two
things you can generally rely on to help with both.

Yo start with you have to appreciate what is actually taking place
when interviewing or selling. Being interviewed is rarely about
actually demonstrating a particular skill, talent, or ability. It is
usually about determining trust. If they trust you, then they'll want
you to work for them. If they don't decide they can trust you then any
demonstrations or resume entries will be overlooked and discounted.
When viewed from this perspective it becomes clear the role that
confidence plays in the process. It is widely accepted that confidence
breeds trust. Obviously this is a simplification, but it brings us
quickly to the first point, which is to be Quick.

Being Quick is about the responsiveness and timing of your answers. If
you don't know the answer or don't have the information desired, just
say so quickly and simply. Don't preamble your answers, when you do
know. Just spit it out right away. If you need to think, let them know
right off that you are considering the request and formulating a
response. Using words that don't provide information so you'll have
time to think is often seen through and will make you appear shady.
Packaging your words with flowery or ambiguous language can leave
people with the feeling that you aren't or won't speak straight.
Remember you are trying mostly to win trust.

The second point is to be Succinct. This us very different than being
brief but has a few things in common. Put simply, use as few words as
possible to precisely provide your response. Overly flowerly or
lengthy answers have the pitfalls we discussed previously. But there
are two additional goals to consider.

The less you say, the more precisely you interpret and respond, the
less chance you will offend. There will simply be a smaller chance
you'll say something that can be disagreed with or break you out of
rapport.

The other upside is that the less you talk, the more they'll talk.
This one is really key. When they are talking you can be learning and
tailoring your responses and approach to build more trust and cement
your rapport. When they are talking they are doing something we all
generally like: talking. So they will actually feel good because they
are doing an activity they enjoy.

You put this together and in your interview you'll learn a lot by
getting the interviewer to talk, you'll have said only things that
reflect positively, you've clearly admitted your shortcomings, they've
enjoyed talking and will end with a good feeling.

There is obviously much more that could be said on the subject, but
maybe remembering just those two points will help.

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