Monday, June 16, 2014

What to Say in the Interview

If you are searching online for interview advice, you’ll find it all right and no shortage of it -- perhaps that’s how you found this blog. But, as we all know, there’s a lot of info online, some is good and some is not worthy of your time. For example: anyone suggesting simple and formulaic solutions applied to interviewing doesn’t know what they are talking about. And frankly speaking I rather hope you rolled your eyes with a sigh when you read the title of this blog entry. What, do you think all you have to do is have a few practiced lines ready for the right questions and “POW!” you’ll hit’em between the eyes with the right answers, and they’ll be stunned no, impressed enough to offer you the job – “yea!” ?  But it must be true, right, because I see lots of YouTube videos with segments doing just this, telling you and anyone who’s so gullible that there’s magic you can do and “VOILA!” you’ll have a great new job. Even better, there is some guy on the internet calling himself Career Billy or something similarly goofy, who has one of those never-ending infomercials – you know, the kind that talk all around the point in an attempt to draw you in, never talking about price until the end. The purveyor in this case contends that he can provide you with a magic document with which, if you present to an interviewer, they will be so astounded they will be forced to offer you your dream job (Career Bob’s words, not mine). And how much will it cost, you might ask, well I’ll tell you – normally something this astounding, something so important would cost you a thousand bucks but wait, if you act now you’ll also receive three free gifts valued at over $500! But that’s not all, blah, blah, blah… Save yourself some time, if you were to suffer all the way through to the end, which took forty minutes, as I did out of morbid curiosity, that is what you’d hear. I laughed all the way through it but also understand there are those who want so badly to find success in their job search, they would pay for something such as this – and possibly at a time when they can least afford it. Save yourself some time and money, its crap and you don’t need to buy that kind of snake oil.
Whether it is formulaic one-size-fits-all answers to have at the ready during an interview or a special and secret document with which to supposedly stun an interviewer; if you are looking for a job this isn’t the way to do it. With reduced attention spans and this fixation all too many people have seeking instant gratification with no investment, this is part of the problem. Combine this with the fact that most people don’t spend much time, if they can help it, interviewing – after all, it is something we do when we must and not because it is a fun pastime (unless you’re a little masochistic). Furthermore, as so much of the process has become automated and digitized, by the time you have a real face-to-face interview you’re likely already frustrated and feeling insecure at the lack of human interaction in a process that requires just that. Go ahead, fall for the easy solutions hawked by hacks, when you attempt to use that garbage and realize it doesn’t work you’ll be right back where you started, having lost something more important than money, you’ll have lost time. Don’t fall for gimmicks looking for the easy way out.
There is no substitution for face-to-face, interactive communication and developed people skills. You can be the best qualified and smartest person in the room, possess a great resume but -- can you communicate your skills and qualifications on a level sufficient to gain notice and demonstrate why you should be chosen over others – which is the essence of the interview process? For whatever reason, if you are like so many, relying almost solely upon faceless online methods to find a job, avoiding human interaction at all costs, the answer is no. There is no simple or formulaic solution to get your dream job, just as there is no easy way to obtain killer abs resulting from some silly new fad advertised online.
I have been coaching people; both job applicants and hiring managers for many years and yes, there are some questions you should be ready to address. And yes, I have advice on the manner in which you should reply, but your answers are your own. This whole thing about interviewing isn’t rocket science but you must possess the basics from which to develop advanced skills. When I increasingly meet people who say “yeah”, instead of “yes”, when they cannot even articulate simple answers without using “like” and “you know” in every sentence, I recognize failure of teachers and parents, but it goes beyond even them; every person is responsible for themselves. But this in an age where everyone likes to throw blame and not take personal responsibility, is it any wonder why no one takes them seriously? Not even the best gimmicks from Career Billy-Bob will help them and will only cost them. Want to do better in the interview, take responsibility to improve yourself – the buck stops with you.  

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