Life is a game. Ok it’s not, but many of the systems and constructs we use everyday function much like a game. At school, students compete for the highest scores to win awards and scholarships. In online marketing, analysts play the SEO game to garner the highest share of page views. “Likes” are the score count in social media marketing. How about politics? “May the best man win” doesn’t apply here and it’s sexist anyways! Politics are thought to be a dirty game of who can maneuver into a seat and not so much a competition to find the best candidate. *queue politically fueled commentary*
View Competition Like a Game
Interviewing is a double competition: out play your opponents while successfully clearing the obstacle course dubbed “HR”. Only the bravest souls’ resumes survive the mechanical HR beast, making it to the hiring manager’s desk! The interview is a gauntlet that challenges the candidate on a personal level, like American Ninja, pushing human strength and endurance to the max!
So, How Can I Step Up & Stand Out?
There’s one trick I use with every professional introduction, presentation, and business meeting: communicate in the listener’s language. When you go to an interview, speak in interview language. What’s interview language? Questions, of course! Interviewers speak in questions, study questions, compose, think, eat, live, and maybe even SLEEP in questions!
Ask Great Questions
When you prepare for your interview, do you worry that you won’t have enough to say? Do you fear dead space in the conversation? Instead of blathering about yourself for too long, prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer. Once you’ve given your succinct, well-rehearsed examples outlining your experience, try asking a question. The answer may provide insight that will help you through your interview! But more importantly, it makes the interview more conversational, comfortable, and memorable. Here are my favorite questions to ask:
What would a day or a week ‘in the life’ of this position look like?
Try to leave it open ended like that. If they aren’t sure how to respond, add:
What would a typical day involve? Will I do the same tasks every day or week, or will the work be highly varied?
Doing the same task every day is not my cup of tea, but the responses to this question often help me add specifics to the remainder of the interview.
Why is this position empty? Is it a new position or would I be replacing someone that left? Why did that person leave, where they promoted or took another job somewhere else?
I personally have been surprised by the amount of valuable information learned about a new job by asking these questions at the interview!
How long have you worked here and how do you describe your job to your friends?
Sorry recruiters and interviewers, but the answer to THIS question is a great gauge for the enjoyment I’ll experience at a job! It’s easy to tell if the answer is genuine or a canned response. If it’s a great place to work, the interviewer’s response will really motivate you to shine! Try to relating to the reason the interviewer enjoys his or her job and showcase how you’ll fit right in with the team.
To whom would I report?
Who will I work with and who will work for me are both important questions to ask.
Admit you’re nervous. Initially, people think this is terrible advice, but it makes you human, shows you’re honest, and that you care enough about the job to BE nervous! I had a hardcore interview turn into a mentoring session once because I admitted I was nervous. I guess he’d been nervous at an interview once or twice in HIS life, too!
“Act enthusiastic and you’ll BE enthusiastic!” Before you go into your interview, while you’re still in the car alone, look in the mirror, smile big and say it 3-6 times, adding inflection and ‘acting’ enthusiastic. Convince yourself and you’ll convince anyone!
Blogging as ✨Debbie Magic✨ on LinkedIn, Deborah Wolfe takes the mystery out of financial reports and puts the magic in entrepreneurialism. She builds confidence through education, originality, and authenticity. Follow her for magical business tips or contact her to take the mystery out of your business!