Three Must Strategies To Prepare For Any Interview - "How to Get Psyched"
Clients regularly contact me, most of the time days in advance, though sometimes several hours or even minutes before an interview, for some last minute advice. Many of us probably recognize that the career management process, particularly this “personal marketing” piece-after all, the ability to sell and market ourselves is key to effective interviewing-is a delicate balance of psychology, attitude, and of course, skills and abilities. With this in mind, I’m careful not to push the wrong buttons right before a client’s interview, in a last minute coaching session. So, rather than dwell on a quick review of questions that they should have prepared to both respond to and ask, or dwell on the research, networking and homework that they should do, I focus on three key thoughts or strategies to prepare them for the “psychology” of this interview/communications process. These simple strategies “to get psyched” are crucial to shifting our thinking and building confidence prior to any interview. I encourage you to review them as you prepare for every interview situation.
1. The interview is a “two-way” discussion between “professionals.”
Regardless of our education and experience levels or our current position as a manager, entry-level manufacturing, engineering, administrative professional or student intern, we all bring certain talents and skills, experiences, and attitudes to our work and an interview, which make us different and “unique.” It’s understanding our “uniqueness” through self-evaluation, and being able to sell it (using our own personality and communications skills) that gives us an edge in the career and interview process.
We have to recognize that in our own right, we are all “professionals” (regardless of our position levels/status, and the levels/status of the interviewers), and that the interview is nothing more than an opportunity for both sides to better understand each other. Remember, we bring a great deal to the interview table; we wouldn’t be called for the interview if we didn’t meet the position requirements in the eyes of the interview team. The interviewer looks at this “two-way” discussion as an opportunity to assess the candidate’s skills, behaviors, experiences, attitude and confidence. Are they serious, just shopping around or “tire kicking,” as I call it? Can they help me and my group to improve quality, customer service, save money or generate revenues? Do I like them?
As the interviewee, we’re likewise thinking: Is this the right boss or team and work environment for me? Is it a good match for my career direction, interests, skills and “unique” strengths? Can I contribute? Even if you get the offer, you don’t have to take it if it is not the right fit or move. Both sides want a “win-win” opportunity. So you see, the interview is a “two-way discussion between professionals.” Let’s view it that way.
Early in my career, I remember preparing for interviews always “on the defensive," thinking about how the interviewers were going to trick me or trip me up. The interviewer or team had all the answers; they were the experts or professionals. They had the control over my destiny. Many times I discounted my own hard work and accomplishments, both while preparing for and during the interview. I wasn’t able to look at the interview as a two-way discussion between professionals, thereby giving away much of my stake or positioning and “personal power” in this communication process. Why should someone less qualified and interested than you and I get the job offer we want and deserve because they understand this principle?