I Got To The Interview Table, Now What?
She had been to five interviews at global companies. She was not only extremely attractive but she had a very charming personality along with a strong academic record. And yet, she had zero job offers.
I checked her LinkedIn page to see if she was up with the “times” and yep, there she was, photograph and all. This gal was a smart cookie. She had many distinct advantages, including nailing down an extra pharmaceutical sales credential while in her senior year. “Impressive,” I thought, “Very impressive.” It appeared she was doing everything right, so what was happening in her interviews that was sabotaging all her hard work?
It turns out that this recent college graduate thought she could kinda “wing it.”
In the book Knock ‘Em Dead Interviewing, Martin Yates compares a job hunter preparing for an interview to a trial attorney preparing for court. “You can’t be serious,” you might be thinking, but Yates is spot on. In the world of a job hunter, a resume gets you to the table, but the question that begs to be asked is: “How will your presentation skills match and support the resume you have written?”
This grad’s problem was that she simply didn’t think she needed to prepare like a trial attorney. She didn’t think through every single word and story that she would tell. When asked about her greatest weakness, she was downright honest and told her interviewer the unfortunate truth. In fact, this very eager college grad was not scripting and practicing her answers at all. Her college career center hadn’t taught her how to prepare properly. None of her friends or even her professors advised her to script her answers. Frankly, she thought she could just get by with “kinda, sorta” preparing. And this “kinda, sorta” preparation cost her dearly.
For all those people who think they can walk in without a solid script are on their way to losing big time, and no one likes to lose in this job hunting game. One of my all time favorite books on the market is the wonderfully written Boosting Your Interview IQ by Carole Martin. It can completely jump start your interviewing style. It’s divided into two sections–the first section covers the basic questions and actually tests your interview IQ by providing scenarios and letting you choose how you would handle it. Then, it explains why one answer is better than the other. The second section is geared toward behavior interviewing which is primarily used in 90% of the interviews today. These questions always involve a prior experience and begin with “tell me about a time…”
With less jobs available today, it is critically important for everyone to be prepared when they get to the table. That means scripting out what you will say …even when it comes to the most basic questions such as tell me about yourself or what is your greatest weakness? Behavioral interviewing is very tricky too. If you make up a fraudulent story, it can quickly erode your credibility when those follow up questions kick in.
Don’t be fooled by your interviewers. With the high cost of interviewing and turnover rates, if you don’t nail the interview with scripting out your answers, role playing and practicing your “pitch” . . .you will find it increasingly difficult to land. No doubt, you realize that showing up to the interview without preparing like a trial attorney is a surefire way to see that dream job slip, slip away.