So you have finally made it to the job interview stage? Congrats. Now is the time for a series of rehearsals where you have three things in mind – the preparation, the storyline and the audience.
The Preparation. Speaking of rehearsals, one way to approach the challenge is to think of yourself as the next Michael McIntyre, your education/work story is the one worth listening to and your only opportunity to impress is at the interview stage. The more you practice your ‘jokes’, the more confident you will appear and the more response you’ll get from your audience.
Ideally the groundwork for that so important performance started a few years ago. You probably did a couple of internships at a bank with at least one ‘Morgan’ in its title; became a university student ambassador, the captain of that rowing club, a volunteer in Namibia and a first prize winner in a mathematical linguistics competition, to name a few. Regardless what the specific elements of that curious mixture are, the important question to ask yourself is ‘Knowing how awesome I am, how to portray my skills and experience in the best possible light?’
The Storyline. Echoing a previous post, being great is not enough. Selling the fact you have a degree from a three-letter institution isn’t either. But tailoring your storyline to your audience, very much like a great tailor molds a suit on you, is your key to success.
Being familiar with the STAR approach (setting, task, action and result) and its modifications CAR (context, action, result) or PAR (problem, action, result) is like the Waitrose Essentials Range – you are probably thinking it is a bit over the top, but who can start the day without a brioche. If you followed our train of thought, having a framework before starting your storyline is a must.
Hence, knowing that more and more companies tend to use the format of the competency-based interview (a.k.a. tell me about a time when), you should think of the interview as an opportunity to illustrate for example leadership skills, conflict management style, ability to prioritize by giving specific examples from your past experience. And those guys are thinking that your past behavior could predict your future one! Let them be the fools.
The Audience. Hercules you are not. But as a corporate warrior-to-be who has already done those impossible 12 labors (12 mirror rehearsals), engaging with your audience is the thirteenth one – the step towards getting the ‘yes’ call.
The tricky but commonly used “Tell me about you” is not the chance to report on your gap year in Asia, neither should it be used to tell the story of your life – just the trailer. Pick up the highlights that build the excitement towards your storyline, leave out the boring bits such as your second year subjects at university, show your achievements in a self-promotional way and let them ask for more.
Now that the show is coming to an end, as with any comedian, sounding unnatural and being stuck in your ‘script’ could be the deal breaker for those wanting to buy tickets for the next performance. So use that natural charm, brilliant improvisation and powerful smile.
Suits and Books. Our pleasure.