Cracking the code of the behavioral interview is the holy grail for those who find themselves having to go through human resources on the way to the next career position. Let’s focus on style, not content. Until we have the right style in front of people, our content matters little.
Accept the premise that a job interview or any other business interaction is simply a subset of human social interaction. Like talking with your neighbor, classmate, or a potential romantic target. We are still dealing with human beings here. Let’s not over complicate it.
Here are a few interview tips that will leave interviewers wanting more:
1. Have The Right Mindset
Mindset is critical. Know thyself so well that the opponent’s moves stimulate an immediate counter routine from you. Control the room, but do so in a way that it won’t be obvious you are running the interaction. Be comfortable articulating a personal value proposition then bridge to why the position and company could be a fit, but you’re unsure and want to use the interview to find out more.
2. Be The Alpha
That last piece is important because it puts the interviewer in position if selling the position and the company to you. The one who has to sell to the other is the beta in the interaction. The beta is not in control. Be the alpha. They can smell desperation. People are attracted to alphas. Be able to take or leave the job. Fake it if you must. Think of it as walking next to a lake and putting one foot in the water. You wouldn’t dive in headfirst before you knew it was safe and the water temperature was to your liking right? Same concept.
3. Be Likable
The first part of any interaction is to cross the threshold from being an unknown commodity to becoming one that is known. If the interviewer doesn’t know you and like you yet, then your skills are irrelevant until you become known and liked.
In short, style is more important than substance in the initial part of the interaction. Eye contact. Gestures. Breathing. Steadiness of voice. Establishing rapport. It all matters. Read books on the subject. If you need the position, practice in front of a camera until the neediness disappears from your communication, verbal and non. Be cool. Be liked.
4. Communicate Effectively
I am a student of women. Love them. Enjoy their company. Fascinating creatures. Communicating effectively with them is critical for life happiness. Case in point – that shooting in California is an extreme example of the descent into a personal hell if someone fails to crack the code of social interaction. Both sexes speak the same verbal language, but that is where similarities end.
Only 7% of communication is verbal. That leaves 93% of the interaction that needs to be interpreted visually between the parties. Women evaluate a man’s potential by observing non-verbals. A wise man will, likewise, carefully observe a woman’s non-verbals for clues on how the interaction is going and where to go next.
Interviewing for a job is quite similar to recreational social interaction. Self-absorbed people will fail to understand the needs of the conversation partner and, consequently, send out signals that are not customized to their conversation partner and will also be unable to read the signals being sent back from their partner. Get out of your own head and focus on the needs of the other person. The conversation focus should be about them.
5. Use Mirroring
Match their body language. Match their communication style. People want to communicate with people like themselves so give ’em what they want. If mirroring is a new term, do an Internet search and use this as a learning opportunity. This layers on to the revelation that a shockingly high amount of communication between people is done non-verbally and to use this for our benefit, we must focus our attention on the other person. Only after we complete this step, can we mirror effectively.
6. Tease Them A Little
Cats love string, but only if you show it to them briefly, then jerk it away, then reveal it again. They want to be off-balance. They get bored quickly unless there is a challenge. Hand a cat a ball of string and walk away… then you have a bored cat.
Same goes for a smooth operator in a social setting. I call this “string theory.” Offer a compelling value proposition to the target, then pull back, then offer more compelling content, leaving them off balance and wanting more. Same goes for a successful interviewee. As I alluded to earlier, have prepackaged content in the form of well rehearsed stories that include body language that matches the verbal content.
If the conversation partner is nodding, smiling, touching their face and neck, and building on your conversation strings, then congratulations… success. Now they will actually listen to your content. Until we pass the style test, our content can never see the light of day. Give it the attention it deserves.
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