Via Quartz : Job interview tips for introverts
While many people find interviews stressful, the process can be an introvert’s worst nightmare: Discussing personal achievements, making small talk, and being put on the spot are all things that many introverts would rather avoid.
As both a college counselor and CEO, I have encountered students and employees with all personality types. Introversion is only a disadvantage if a job applicant attempts to hide this quality instead of embracing it.
For example, people with shy personalities might also be detail-oriented, thoughtful, and great listeners, all of which can be extremely valuable professional qualities. They’ll fare better in an interview by highlighting their strengths than by pretending to be a social butterfly.
If you are an introvert, or if self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to you, it might be particularly hard to answer questions about personal strengths and achievements on the fly. It’s best to go into a job interview with an idea of the points you want to emphasize. Take time to reflect on prior experiences and write out a list of projects you excelled at, technical abilities you acquired, and soft skills you possess. Review your list shortly before an interview for a confidence boost and to help answer questions regarding experience and personal strengths.
In order to avoid curveballs that will put you on the spot throughout the application process, research the company you are interviewing for inside and out. This means going beyond the website and looking at social media accounts, recent media placements and press releases, and review sites such as Glassdoor. Ask a hiring manager who you will be speaking with and get a sense of each person’s background and role within the company. Write out a list of questions you wish to ask each team member and practice responses to common interview discussions regarding strengths and weaknesses, your interest in the organization, and your long-term and short-term goals.
Also consider how you will handle being caught off-guard, which can happen to even the most prepared candidates. Most introverts prefer time to think and reflect before formulating a response to challenging questions. If you are asked something you were not anticipating, don’t be afraid to pause for a moment before answering. Generally, hiring managers who ask difficult or unexpected questions do so to gauge how a candidate approaches a challenge. Instead of trying to change who you are by responding immediately, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your critical thinking skills. Introverts are often strong listeners and creative problem solvers, so take in every word and give yourself a minute or two to formulate a thoughtful response. A nuanced answer that highlights your ability to think critically is far more impressive than replying quickly, but with generic ideas.
While staying true to your personality is critical, so is making a promising impression. Wear something you feel confident in and check out a company’s social media channels in advanced in order to gauge an office’s dress code. If someone you are speaking with asks you about the weather or what you like to do on weekends, avoid one-word answers. Mentioning hobbies and interests can help hiring managers get a sense of who you are outside of the office and how you will fit into a team.
Most importantly, convey your interest in the position you are applying for and the organization as a whole. At the end of the day, the best candidates aren’t the funniest or most outgoing but rather those with a palpable passion and sense of purpose. Lead with your knowledge of the company, professional strengths, and career ambitions, and forget about trying to be the most charming person in the room.
Via Forbes : Why You Need To Begin Interview Questions With The Words ‘Could You’
A lot of commonly used behavioral interview questions begin with the phrase “Tell me about a time…” For example:
- Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult situation.
- Tell me about a time when you faced competing priorities.
But notice how each of those putative questions actually ends with a period and not a question mark? That means, in the simplest possible terms, that they’re not questions; in this case, they’re actually commands. And when you’re trying to get a candidate to reveal their true personality, issuing commands is a very bad way to go.
By contrast, when you add the words “could you” to the beginning of those commands, you actually get a really effective interview question. For example:
- Could you tell me about a time when you faced a difficult situation?
- Could you tell me about a time when you faced competing priorities?
These questions are going to relax candidates into revealing their underlying attitudes, and that gives you the information you need to avoid the 46% failure rate for new hires. You can see more questions like these (and how tough they are to answer) in the online quiz “Could You Pass This Job Interview?”
Now, before I explain why the phrase “could you” is so important, let me answer the one snarky comeback I frequently hear; by adding “could you tell me,” this has now become a question that could be answered “yes” or “no.” While that is technically accurate, in the context of a job interview, it’s not a problem for two reasons:
First, in job interviews, candidates are generally trying to impress, so the odds that they offer a ‘yes or no’ answer are very slim. Second, if a candidate actually did say “no” when asked “could you tell me…” then it would be a truly fantastic answer. You would have just learned something hugely important about them; namely that they would be an incredibly difficult person to manage in real life.
Imagine what a gift it would be if you asked a candidate “Could you tell me about a time when you faced a difficult situation?” and they looked you right in the eye and said “no.” You really couldn’t ask for any clearer signal to not hire someone than that “no.”
In an interview, you need to give candidates every opportunity to fail. The vast majority of interviewers are constantly pushing candidates to succeed. With most leaders’ verbal adroitness, they’re able to cajole the ‘correct’ answer out of most candidates, even the terrible ones. And that’s one of the reasons why there’s a 46% failure rate for new hires.
So, why else do we need to start interview questions with the words ‘could you’? It’s about letting the candidate feel like they have some measure of control in the interview process. People are generally pretty guarded when they’re in an interview. They may seem perfectly open, jovial, relaxed, etc., but that just means they’re good performers.
You want to get them to loosen up and lower some of those guards so they reveal what’s really going on inside. And one way to do that is to give them the feeling that they have more control in this process. It makes the interview feel less like an exam and more like a conversation.
When someone is getting hammered with questions, especially questions that start to sound like orders— “tell me about situation A, then you will tell me about situation B… “—it constantly reminds them that they are in a powerless position, and that everything they say is being critically judged. As a result, they become guarded and highly reticent in what they are willing to share.
In order to get people to open up in the responses they give to your questions, you want them to forget that they’re in a position without much power. Instead, you want them to feel that this is more like a conversation with a new friend. So when you ask “Could you tell me… ?” it’s a subtle way of saying: ‘You have control because you can choose whether or not you want to answer this question.’ Of course, no one is actually going to refuse to answer the question (or they know they’re not getting the job). But the fact that you’ve suggested they have a choice in the matter plants a psychological seed that they have more control, just like they would in a conversation with a friend. Thus they start to act more like they would in a friendly conversation (i.e. open and honest).
One final note: The specific words you select and how you choose to say them do matter in hiring. You can’t ham-handedly read a bad script and expect that you’re going to make great hires. This is a battle where subtlety matters, where small words make a big difference, and your performance is critical.
Via Forbes : Job Interviews Falling Flat? Your Attitude May Be To Blame
When I met with John, he had already been on 14 interviews without receiving a job offer. He was a senior professional with a consulting firm, and I knew he had been involved with hiring many people in his career. After all, he had hired quite a few from me when I’d worked in the space.
As he sat down with me, I listened to him share his woes for a few minutes before beginning a mock interview. I asked him whether many of the interviews he had been on started with the classic question, “Tell me about yourself.” When he answered yes, I invited him to answer it as though he were in a real interview. I listened.
After about a minute, I stopped him. “I have a hunch about what is happening,” I began. “Would you like to hear my evaluation?”
“I care enough to tell you bluntly because I think it will help you the most. You’re boring. You’re bored with answering the question, and it comes through. To me, it’s a turnoff, and I suspect it’s turning off others.”
When you go to a Broadway show and see the cast perform the play, you don’t care that they perform eight shows in six days every week, do you? What matters is that they put on a great performance for you. After all, you’ve paid good money to see the play, and you want to see the actors give you a great performance — and rightfully so.
When you’re being interviewed, you may be asked a question for the 15th time, but the interviewer is just like an audience member: They’re listening to your answer for the first time. They don’t care that you’re bored from performing the same lines over and over again. They are judging your performance based on what you do on stage for them.
Recently, I was reminded of my session with John as I spoke with someone else whose answers seemed flat and “businesslike.”
“Let me ask you something,” I inquired. “You live in a city where there are a lot of people who do what you do. Why should they hire you?”
Suddenly, he came to life as he spoke about his successes and how he had challenged the status quo he inherited, inspired his team and led them to make “magic” for their organization. He was so much more alive than he was just a few minutes ago.
This attitude and flair are what will get you hired. Being bored won’t.
Since the time you were little until now, schools, colleges and businesses have conditioned you to be quiet and do what you’re told. “Regurgitate a bunch of things when we tell you to, or else.” Or else you won’t get a good grade. Or else you won’t get into a good school and get a good job. All these years of conditioning have sucked the life out of you.
But if you can remember that when companies try to hire someone, they want someone who inspires confidence and gives them that excited feeling that you have the knowledge and experience to solve their problem, you will be hired.
Via News.com.au : Best job interview advice ‘almost no one takes’
A HR expert has revealed the simple trick to nail a job interview — but many are too scared to use the “secret weapon”.
NEXT time you’re going for a job interview, a “selfie” could make all the difference.
That’s according to HR expert Gary Burnison, chief executive of management consulting firm Korn Ferry and author of Lose the Resume, Land the Job.
He argues that if you’re landing interviews but not getting any further, like most people you’ll probably go back to polishing your resume when you should be doing “one thing that could really make a difference”.
“The secret weapon is in your pocket or maybe in your hand: your smartphone,” Mr Burnison wrote in a piece for Forbes.
“People over-estimate their strengths and underestimate their weaknesses all the time. They tell themselves they can ‘wing it’ and congratulate themselves for how well they think on their feet. Except, they can’t.
“Only by video recording yourself (or having someone else do it) as you answer interview prep question can you see and hear how you come across.”
Mr Burnison said while we may be obsessed with taking selfies, most people avoid looking at or listening to themselves on camera. “Just pushing ‘record’ and seeing that red light makes them highly self-conscious,” he said.
“And that’s the point. The nervousness of being video recorded is a good proxy for being ‘on’ in a job interview. When you play back the recording, you’ll hear every ‘um’, ‘you know’ and ‘like’ that you say unconsciously.
“You’ll also see your non-verbal communication: how you sit, your facial expression, how much you fidget, and so forth.”
Mr Burnison advises candidates to video record themselves rehearsing basic interview questions such as describing their most recent position, career accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses and why they want to work at the organisation.
“When you play back the recording, listen to your answers,” he said.
“How can you say it more concisely, bringing it down to a tight 30-second answer? You may not think so, but 30 seconds can come across as a long time.
“You need responses that are punchy, crisp, compelling, and to the point. One-word answers are a disaster, but so is a filibuster. Keep it conversational. You can always elaborate when the interviewer asks a follow-up question.”
Importantly though, you should be rehearsing, not memorising. “You’re not auditioning for Annie — there’s no need to memorise your lines,” Mr Burnison wrote.
“Memorised answers that sound canned and unnatural can’t convey your authentic self. You need to rehearse — preferably with a coach or mentor who will give you the ‘tough love’ feedback that your friends, spouse, or other family members can’t.
“If your mentor also knows your role and industry, that’s an added plus.”
Via The Ladders : How to handle an interview when you have multiple job offers
What do I do if I have job offers but still have other interviews? Receiving a job offer while you are still in the interview process elsewhere can put you at a huge advantage if you play your cards right. Here is exactly what you should say to each company involved to maintain great relationships and set you up to potentially get multiple offers.
To simplify the explanation, I will call the company that gave you an offer “Company A,” and the company that you are still in the interview process with, “Company B.”
Step 1: Speak with Company A
Always be building rapport — start out by telling Company A thank you, and that you are excited and grateful. Then make sure you ask for time to think about the offer.
Say this: “This is such great news, I have really enjoyed getting to know the team, and I am so grateful for the offer. I am really interested in this opportunity, but I do have an interview planned for next week. I take this decision very seriously, and so I’d like to vet my options so that I am sure of the decision I make. Would I be able to give you a decision on X date?”
What’s going through the Company A’s head:
When you say this, they will start to doubt your level of interest in the opportunity. That is why it is so important to reiterate how excited you are about their offer, and reassure them that you are genuinely considering their offer (versus simply using it as leverage with other companies).
Also know that companies will not be surprised by this ask, as it is normal among in-demand candidates (hey, that’s you!). However, Company A may not be able to give you much additional time because they need to fill the role. There are likely other candidates they would like to give offers to should you decline, and the longer you make them wait, the more likely those candidates will find other jobs.
Step 2: Speak with Company B
Now it is important to go to Company B and let them know that you have an offer, but that you are still interested in exploring the opportunity they have presented.
Say this: “I have an offer, and that company wants a decision soon, but I am very interested in this opportunity, would we be able to expedite the interview process to see if it’s a match?”
What’s going through the Company B’s head:
This GOLD, because if they thought they wanted you before, now they really want you.
From the employer side, we appreciate when you let us know any time constraints. If you show excitement and interest this will not hurt your candidacy, and can actually improve it. However, do not use this as a tactic when you don’t actually have an offer, that’s not worth it.
Know that sometimes they will grant your request and move schedules around, and sometimes won’t. The discussion that happens behind the scenes is determining if it is possible to speed things up, and if it is, are we willing to? If Company B says, “No we can’t speed things up,” it could be either that they are just not that into you, or there are some external factors at play that have nothing to do with you.
If they do make the effort to speed up your interview process, take that as a BIG sign that they are interested in you. If a company is afraid to lose you they will go above and beyond to coordinate around your timeline.
Now that both companies know where you stand, make sure you take time to truly vet the opportunities to determine which is best for you.
For more tips, here’s a video where I go more in depth on this topic as well as here’s a video of the best job offer negotiation tactics I’ve seen.