How To Be An Unforgettable Interview

red umbrella
Here are some ways you can stand out from the crowd.

 

I know you know the feeling when you’re on a roll in a job interview, answering everything, engaging, and there’s that ‘connection’ happening…it couldn’t be going any better… a one hour interview turns into three; they aren’t in a hurry for you to leave… you might even be introduced to someone walking by that there’s no need to introduce you to; they linger with you as you get your coat or wait for a cab. They are into you, there’s no doubt. Will you get the job? There’s no question being memorable matters to increasing your odds greatly. If this has ever happened to you, in some way, do you remember how that happened? Are you aware of it? If you are, or if you aren’t, being memorable can be a learned skill as much as it comes more naturally to some people.

In other words, you can up your memorability quotient by applying a few simple fundamentals in an interview setting.

Getting on the same wavelength as your interviewer is key to being memorable. Here are some simple suggestions:

Ask them about themselves. I don’t mean get intimate or familiar, but notice, ask questions and be curious about what they ask. People love to talk about themselves the most; second most, often, they love to talk about where they work. Notice what you see and be informed coming in so you can ask about the company, but also ask the recruiter what they think about the company, get their opinion. From there you can ask more questions. Ask a lot of good and thoughtful questions and you have a better chance of being remembered than if all you do is talk about yourself the entire time. Dale Carnegie said this, and it’s always stuck with me, that the way to be memorable is to ask people about themselves and get them talking. Genuinely listen to what they’re saying, be curious in your conversation, and find relatability.

Be nice to the receptionist. It’s basic decency to be kind to everyone you meet when you go for an interview, but you might choose also to make a good impression on the receptionist. She or he is not just part of the company culture, they are the first line of defence. If you don’t make a good impression with them, that gets noticed and talked about. Receptionists do a lot more than they’re often given credit for, being the eyes and ears of companies before people step into the meeting room. In reality, they are your first interview, as leaders will ask them how they were treated on your arrival.

You’re going to have to talk about yourself, so give examples. Research says stories are 22x more memorable to people than lists, bullet points and technical information. Put your resume into a story and make your examples in the interview more story driven. It’s the natural way to relate information anyway, and it’s going to give you a better chance at making yourself memorable.

Make eye contact. When you look away, other people will also look away, and it breaks their concentration. Hold their attention with your eyes. You don’t need to stare into their eyes (remember to blink) but always stay with the eyes and come back to them quickly. I know many people have a habit when thinking to look one way or the other, or even close their eyes to concentrate. The less you do this in an interview, the more you can control the perception of the interviewer and hold their concentration on the topic, rather than them thinking to themselves why you need to close your eyes all of the time to concentrate.

Mirror their style. In an interview you want to mirror the style of your interviewer, since reflecting themselves back to them builds quick rapport and trust. If you don’t pay attention to this, a large degree of connection (and your advantage and control of the interview) is lost. Because it’s in your interest to build rapport and attention quickly, start to mirror your interviewer’s body language, like a crossed leg, one hand over another, little things. If they are relaxed and laid back, conversational, then you’ll want to mirror this in the interview. If they are direct and to the point, on a schedule you can feel, then mirror this in your body language and language style. They lead, you follow. You win.

If some of this is hard for you for any reason, you aren’t alone. But these are things you can master with practice. In an interview setting it’s important to make the interview yours as much as possible. Being more in control with these simple tips will give you a much better chance of being unforgettable.

If you like this, sign up for more career content, tools and advice on living your largest, most passionate and fulfilling life right here.

Meditations For People Who Do Too Much

ProFound Talent Executive Recruiting
Life is a balancing act. Here’s how to stop the chaos and get grounded again.

 

I recently reconnected with someone who I worked with and like and respect very much. I asked her how things were, we haven’t seen each other in three years, and she told me about her new young family, her busy job, her busy husband, and their busy household. Everything she said, I could relate to myself, having two growing girls going into school and training for careers, running a busy and growing business, working out, eating right, and overall being very, very, very busy. Being busy can feel like progress, but often it’s just being busy, a pattern we’ve become used to, because it makes us feel useful and like we are accomplishing more than we really are.

My friend mentioned that she often feels like she’s “going it alone” even though she is surrounded by a loving husband and children. I asked her if she ever wanted to “see someone”, everyone’s code word for therapy. She told me she’s much too private of a person for therapy, which apart from the expense is something I’ve heard from other friends in the past. As we talked more, I shared with her my experiences with meditation and the benefit of quieting the mind. She then told me about a book she recently came across and said that it has really helped her. The book is called Meditations for Living In Balance: Daily Solutions for People Who Do Too Much. She told me to check it out myself, so I’ve ordered it, but it hasn’t yet arrived.

The book has an over four-star rating on Amazon, and a copy editor promoting the book says this about it: “For men and women overwhelmed by life’s constant juggling act — the struggle to balance work, relationships, children, finances, chores, and more — Anne Wilson Schaef clears the way to serenity and joy.

“With her signature wisdom, insight, and humor, Schaef shows us how to stop living at the mercy of frenzy and chaos and start savoring daily moments that center, calm, and nourish us. Contemplation and ultimately practical actions come together to help us tune into ourselves, be still and mindful, lighten up, laugh, and revel in the adventure of every day.”

My friend’s favourite part of this book is the entire book. She is the sort of person who always strives to be her best. She is competitive. She is a ‘do-er’, passionate about people, projects, and ideas. She always has half a dozen projects in her head she wants to work on, while also being successful in her demanding day job while she raises two small boys. She wants to write a book. She draws and paints. Yet none of what she does ‘for herself’ relaxes her or ultimately makes her feel fulfilled, because in her mind there are so many things yet to be finished, done, fulfilled. She herself feels like she’s falling behind when nothing could be further from the truth. She is too hard on herself, reflects too much on failure vs accomplishment, and because she is a driven person rarely stops to smell the roses. She is always driving to some new goal or wanting to start a new project she’s got a vision for. All of this led her to burnout and cycles of burnout that became challenging for her. She started to lose interest in the things she once felt so passionate about, she felt anxiety about raising her boys and holding a full-time very demanding job, and she would feel overwhelmed instead of fulfilled. She told me, for her, this book did a wonderful thing: it made her feel like she could cope, she doesn’t need to be superwoman, and she needs to take real time for herself to reflect on why she has such high expectations of herself, who put them there, and the reality that she is the only one holding herself to such a high, and I might say unrealistic, standard. I can relate to a lot of these feelings myself, and so can, I think, most people I coach.

My friend called it “book therapy”, which is kind of funny, but I take her seriously because she is a serious and smart person who does too much. She said I also do too much. I often feel like I don’t do enough, and there aren’t enough hours in the day, and there are always new projects to be done and as a business owner I am always trying to stay competitive, be profitable, and grow. Some days I feel the weight of this “too much” – the stuff I’m doing now and the stuff that’s yet to do. With my mind on so much during the day, and with so many other people, coaching them in leadership and career, my friend reminded me that the person I think least about is myself. And that’s bad. We all need time out of the day-to-day of our lives to find our mental balance again. For me, I have turned to meditation as my peace, my quieting of the mind, my serenity.

When I do career and life coaching, one of the things I get my clients to do is something I call a Life Wheel. The purpose of the Life Wheel is to look at your life holistically and to balance all aspects of your life. I ask them to fill in a new Life Wheel every week and keep track of changes. What I often see is a real imbalance in a client’s first Life Wheel. Maybe they are going through a divorce and have a sick parent. That’s going to give someone low relationship quality, which means they aren’t being nourished by that area in their life. An imbalance here creates an imbalance in other areas of your life. For example, maybe you love your job, but because of things happening in your personal life, you find trouble concentrating, sleeping, feeling motivated. All these things are going to affect your job performance and enjoyment. The point of the Life Wheel exercise is to identify imbalances and areas for better balance. Improvements in every area of your life, however small, will improve your mental, physical and spiritual well-being. You will be better in all your relationships and you will find happiness and enjoyment again. It might take some time, which is the point of tracking your progress every week. When you can start to see the results, feeling the changes and finding better life balance, you’ll start to see that you can change your present and future. We can’t control some things like family illness, possibly divorce, loss of job. But we can change how we react to these events and how we feel about them and how they affect us. The Life Wheel is a meditation on life balance, of being able to see on a page that “hey, my life is out of whack right now and I need to find balance to be happier.” Mapping progress is vital to see how far you’ve come from where you started. If you’re interested in career or leadership coaching and finding that balance in your life, I’d love to help you.

I look forward to Anne Wilson Schaef’s book to arrive. In the meantime, I’m hitting the gym today because I have a Life Wheel, too. All our lives are a balancing act. But you don’t have to do a high-wire act without a net every day. You’re not here to impress other people with some thrilling, heroic performance. You’re here to be the best version of you possible, for you. Do what’s good for you, what’s important to you, not what’s expected of you – or what you feel ‘they’ expect. ‘They’ might not expect anything. Meditate on that for awhile.

If you like this, sign up for more career content, tools and advice on living your largest, most passionate and fulfilling life right here.

Why I Love This Gabrielle Union Photo Story From The New York Daily News

Gabriel Union New York Daily News
Photo © 2019 Gabrielle Union, Instagram

Over the weekend I was reading the New York newspapers and came across this in the New York Daily News. Ordinarily I skip over celebrity news, but it was the look on Gabrielle Union’s face that stopped me enough to read the caption. After that, I picked up other outlets running similar stories, like Purdue Exponent: “Gabrielle Union has thanked her fans for their ‘love and support’ after she was axed from the America’s Got Talent judging panel. The Bring It On star recently admitted to feeling ‘lost and alone’ following her departure, which was allegedly brought on after she…raised issues about racist jokes and comments about her physical appearance.” The story made me reflect on how hard it is to be a famous working actress in the first place, then a famous African American woman, too. Being fired in such a high-profile way would make a person very vulnerable.

As American artist Lekelia47 says “all my life I had to grind and hustle/I had to work like Kobe just to shine like Russell.” I believe Gabrielle Union finds herself unfairly and doubly burdened to “make it”. I respect Gabrielle Union as an actress, very much, and I don’t really follow television shows much, and I didn’t follow her as a judge on America’s Got Talent. But, judging from her consistent and quality performances, exceptional performances, it must be very hard to lose this kind of position when you’ve achieved so much more than being a judge on AGT. Despite the pedigree and the quality of her work over so long, she was publicly shamed by being fired from a variety show.

I was also reflecting on how many of us have had this happen to us in big and small ways in our own careers. I am not an actress and I am white, but I am a woman. And I can understand very well how it feels to be passed over, regarded secondarily, less capable, somehow having to prove myself daily despite 20 years of experience in my field. I fight for work, too. This isn’t about women, either. I have met many men who have had big career roles, as CEO for example, who have been fired, lost their jobs, and feel completely lost and isolated. I even know of a CEO who after being fired gave up the corporate game entirely and just left town, parts unknown to me at least. It’s sad to see talented people wasted and tossed aside for what amount to political or intra-personal reasons. In many cases these firing situations have little to do with the person being fired and more to do with those who want them fired for reasons that have little to do with performance.

All 7.7 billion of us on planet earth (and counting) have felt daily disappointment. Or at least most of us have, some royalty excepted.

It was arresting to see the disappointment on Gabrielle Union’s face. And the loving care in the face of her partner. For a change, I guess, it was nice to see something that human in the newspaper, some real experience; though, of course, they took the picture themselves so one could say there was a lot of self promotion going on. Her own PR machine, luckily she has one, can help her get out in front of the story. I get that part. But I think she was showing us some real life too, as an accomplished African American woman, made doubly and triply hard if you make your living being seen and being relevant to the public as a celebrity.

I’m not worried about Gabrielle Union, she’ll be more than fine; she’s worthy of any great role or roles that come her way. And someone of her quality with find other better things to do than judge a silly variety show for Simon Cowell. But it was just an impressive reminder, to me at least, that women especially face disappointment in their careers based on things irrelevant to performance or altogether made up to serve an end. If a person performs well all the time, as she does, that person should be rewarded rather than fired, condemned, shunned. For a moment the gauze of celebrity was pulled back to show a real person hurting for reasons I can understand myself very well in my own way.

The point is, if there is a point to this piece, that man or woman, whatever color, whomever the person is, if they are a star, let them shine. It means you’re a great leader yourself. As Kelis says in the song Little Star, “If it seems like I’m shining/It’s probably a reflection/Of something you already are.”

If you like this, sign up for more career content, tools and advice on living your largest, most passionate and fulfilling life right here.