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Did they like my answer? What will they ask next? Am I talking too much? Oh no…the awkward silence…say something, anything!
It’s easy to feel out of control when you’re being interviewed. The inherent interview set-up forces interviewees to be in a constant reactive state. It may require a little more effort, but here are some tips I’ve picked up from my recent interview experience that can help you shift the power dynamic at your next interview.
Knowledge is power
As a marketer, the cardinal rule we live by is know your audience. The same rule can be applied during an interview when you’re marketing your most valuable product – yourself. Find out everything you can about the company and their objectives. If it’s a brand new role, why was it created? Learn about who you will be working with – your potential manager, cross-functional team members and stakeholders. Who will be at the interview? What’s their professional background? Do you have any common connections? How about hobbies or interests? In today’s digital information era, there’s no excuse for showing up at an interview under-prepared.
When you understand your audience, you can guide the conversation through your answers by triggering areas of interest such as past work examples and why you’re interested in this role. Doing your research also enables you to ask insightful questions and address gaps that may have been overlooked.
Find your voice
It’s not just about what you say; it’s how you say it. Even for those well versed in public speaking can do better with practice. Whether there are words that cause you to stumble or fillers that add no impact to your message – practicing out-loud will help you catch the little tweaks and adjustments to ensure a solid delivery.
Take your time
Taking control of your time could possibly be the most empowering act you do. Consider how often you feel like you’re running out of time and if only you can squeeze one more hour out of a 24-hour day. While you can’t change time universally, you can manage how you spend your time in a day. Knowing how much time you need to collect your thoughts and then taking the time to gain composure is vital to how you carry yourself during the interview.
Speak with conviction
It’s hard to be in control when you don’t sound convinced of your own words. Remove words that give you an “out” – such as “I think”, “it’s probably”, “perhaps” and “maybe” – replace them with definitive words such as “I believe”, “I know”, “it will” and “it is”. Be factual and leverage data points to support your claims.
As you prepare for an interview, take the opportunity to reflect on the impacts you’ve made. Coming up with the perfect narrative that captures your top achievements can be extremely empowering. Take pride in your accomplishments, you’ve earned it.
Love them or hate them – interviews are ingrained in the recruitment process and will not disappear anytime soon. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll feel in control and be empowered to lead the conversation.