First of all the job interview is not about you. It’s about them, their problems, and what you can do to fix them. I had to learn this the hard way but you don’t.
I interview badly. I use the term ‘badly’ as a euphemism for f*cking horribly.
I stammer, stumble over my words, look blank when asked a question, use humor at inappropriate times and these are the minor problems. I moved into the big leagues of job interview screw-ups by doing things like:
Arguing with my interviewer
Raising my voice while arguing and engaging in cutting rejoinders
As I said I interview badly.
So how did I ace my last interview and get the promotion after years of effing them up? Here are the two techniques I used with a short explanation about why they work. Also be sure to watch the video from Ramit Sethi at the end.
Doing the Homework and Shifting the Focus
You are hoping to be hired, you are hoping that this job will be the gateway to your plans for world domination. But what is the company hoping for?
Short answer; They have a problem, that they need solved. This is where doing your homework comes in. By fair means or fouls find out what the problem is and plan how you are going to solve it. Google news reports, press releases, etc. Even better get information on the company from someone inside the company by friending them on LinkedIn or Google+, follow them (not electronically stalk or harass) them on twitter.
If this seems like too much work then you should also ask yourself how bad do you really want the job. If you’re applying to flip burgers then this is definitely overkill but it you are going after your dream job then the extra preparation is a small price to pay. More importantly, you can be assured that some of the other interviewees with better qualifications will not have taken these extra measures.
The point of all of this is that you begin the interview with confidence, show yourself to be alert to the needs of others and a problem solver. During the interview stay focused as the person(s) conducting the interview will have problems that are unique to them. In my case, I was interviewed by persons over the age of 60, who had been with the organization for decades. Their biggest problem (which remained unstated) was concern for their legacies. I realized that any talk of innovation and the wholesale replacement of methods they had taken years to create would not lead to my promotion. Instead I spoke on the need for training and instilling basic principles of organizational behaviour, which impressed my interviewers. I got the promotion.
As the job seeker, your entire mentality should be “I’ve identifed this problem in the company, let me fix it for you” Focus on them not on yourself.
The Briefcase Technique
I learnt the Briefcase Technique from a former mentor, Ramit Sethi who is a bit of a dick but an absolute master on hacking and planning a career. The technique works at a deeply psychological level, in the way that an unexpected small gift at an unexpected time works on a first date. In the video Ramit explains how freelancers can use the technique to close sales but it is effective for a whole range of things.
If you’ve done homework from the last section – and if you are a new grad you should still be use to homework you know the company’s challenges. Type up a list of the problems (Not more than ten but not less than three) in outline form, how are you going to solve them. At an appropriate point in the conversation pull out the list with a small flourish and try not to look smug. Bonus points if you are able to guide the conversation around to what you have on paper. One of my interviewers was so impressed that he nodded agreement with almost everything I said for the rest of time I was with them.
I had to pay to learn the technique but it was worth every penny, now it’s free on YouTube.
Watch the full video below.
Having been there, I know how stressful job interviews is. From the bottom of my heart, whomever you are and where ever you are I wish you all the best on the job hunt and every success in the future.