On a cold and drab November morning a few years ago I had a first meeting with a client. She was in her late 30s and looking to make a career move to somewhere more inspiring, a place where she would be recognised, able to progress and to move away from feeling “squashed and overlooked” as she put it.
And so, we made a plan.
I outlined the key areas that would help her achieve that goal. As soon as I mentioned interviews I watched as the colour drained from her face.
Interviews are possibly the most feared part of the job seeking process. Can you relate?
That is certainly the case amongst most of the clients I work with. They feel that they are in the spotlight, being judged and there is an underlying limiting belief that they cannot sell themselves. There is a fear they are going to dry up, forget everything they know and how to respond.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Eight weeks later my client came back from her first interview with a big smile on her face, and her first words to me were, “I actually enjoyed that”.
Hearing this made my day and seeing transformations like this is one of the many joys of my job.
So, I expect your question is, “Sure, she did it, but can I?”
The answer is YES.
It is simply a skillset, and anyone can learn it. I did when I made my career change those years back, and my clients do today - and so can you.
I’m sure you’ve been to lots of meetings in your time. Hopefully each one had a purpose and agenda, and you and others rocked up, bringing in your expertise, and leaving with outcomes and actions
An interview is simply a meeting, the same as any other meeting you’ve had ,and if you can view it like this you will find it a lot easier:
If you don’t tell interviewers how good you are, they likely won’t know enough about you to offer you the job.
Remember these key things:
Now, this sounds obvious but you’d be amazed how many people do not prepare adequately. It makes the whole experience uncomfortable and traumatic. If you prepare well, however, you could be like my client and actually enjoy the experience!
W = What (Situation, Task). What were you doing and what was the context and objective?
H = How (Actions). Describe how you did it in detail: what did you do first; what did you do next; what tools did you use; who did you speak to; etc. Remember to use “I” and not “we” where appropriate: they want to know what your contribution was.
O = Outcomes (Results). The basic outcomes (on time, on budget, did what you set out to achieve, etc) are important, but going on to describe how your company and customers benefited as a result will give you a really powerful answer.
Early stages of interview processes often involve telephone or video interviews. In some cases, and particularly during the pandemic, it may all be by telephone or video.
Prepare and practice an answer to this question “Tell me about yourself”. Select a story that shares how you are a good match to the job description and why you are keen on this role and this company.
Implement the strategies I have shared in this blog and you will be head and shoulders above the competitions preparation levels.
Add questions to build in conversation:
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