Shortcutting… Interviews

13 Jun

Today I attended a talk on how to be a good interviewee. Turns out, it doesn’t have to be completely and utterly terrifying. Even more interestingly, what you actually say doesn’t even matter! At risk of encouraging superficial shallowness and all that, you will be judged almost entirely on appearances. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about your dress sense or make up (much), it’s all about body language. Apparently, in communication, humans judge each other 70% on body language, 20% on tone of voice, and only a measly 10% on what you’re actually saying! It almost seems like it would be more efficient to just emit mindless mumbo-jumbo while making constant eye contact and sitting in an ‘open’ position (I’ll come to that in a minute), ensuring to ‘speak’ in a calm, confident-but-not-arrogant tone. Almost. So anyway, here’s how to deal with the different sections:

Preparationwhat you say may only be a measly 10%, but you will panic if you haven’t prepared anything in advance. Make sure you know whatever you’re being interviewed about inside out. And outside in. In other words, do your research!!! Use the internet: if the company or whatever have a website (and they ain’t good enough for you if they don’t), find out what exactly they say they’re looking for and make yourself that person: think of evidence to support you in your claims to being open-minded, organized, cooperative or whatever.

Body language: two words: 70%.Or is that three words? Anyway, it’s important. So here are some key things: open and close with a firm, assertive handshake. Make eye contact as much as possible. Smile at all times like you’re in control. Don’t fidget. Don’t fold your arms defensively. Exude confidence (love that word). One way to practise is to try answering some questions you might get while looking in the mirror, so you can see all whether you’re exuding or not.

Answering questions: I think we can safely assume that if you’re in an interview, you’re going to be asked some questions. The key is to start and end your questions clearly, and try and structure them in a clear way, answering every part of the question. Also, you will inevitably be asked some difficult ones. Think ‘what are your weaknesses?’, or ‘when have you failed?’. You can’t sound cocky but you don’t want to admit you actually have any weaknesses – exuding, remember? So you could either go with the ‘I’m a perfectionist’ type answer, which to be honest is kinda arrogant and a tiny bit cliche. Instead I’d opt for the honest weakness that is totally irrelevant: ‘I can never flip my omelettes without them breaking’, or something like that… (This wasn’t actually recommended by the woman giving the talk so yeah that one’s copyright me.)

Thank you for your time, assertive handshake, and goodbye.

Keep shortcutting,

Zoe

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