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“Quiet Conversation” Series Blog: The Job Interview

As part of my one-on-one “quiet conversation” series, I am going to focus on one theme a month (or at least I’ll try).  This month’s theme is about how to put your best foot forward in applying for a new job. The new quarter of the year is a time when many people are applying for new positions. In talking with different types of candidates, it’s evident that interviews make people so anxious that their anxiety often gets in the way of showing their shine in an interview.


My natural response to interviews is to just treat them as the conversations that they are. The more relaxed you are, the better you can listen and answer questions and see if you like the potential employer. Not only is an interview an opportunity for the employer to get to know you, but it’s your time to get to know them and see if they are a good fit or not.


The best way to treat a job interview is to put it in perspective. Treat the job as if you have it, until you decide you don’t want it or the employer tells you otherwise. This way, you can move over the nervous thought of whether you have it or not and focus on whether you want it or not. I made this suggestion to someone recently and it was surprisingly freeing to them and made the prospect of a conversation of this magnitude much easier to swallow.


Another issue people run into with job interviews is getting hung up on the money or other requirements of the job once its landed. My feeling is that you should land the job before you go into your requirements for it—beyond the basic salary question the employer poses. Its better to get the horse, before you put the cart in front of it.


I also encourage people to think about the purpose of the position—is this something you would enjoy doing? Does the work environment sound appealing? Do you like the mission of the organization?  What is your goal in accepting the position?  It has to be more than transactional (meaning people focus on the pay before the actual position) if you are going to be happy in the position in the long term.


Even if a position doesn’t work out, treat the interview process as part of your relationship development. One of my favorite employers interviewed me for a first position and passed and then hired me for a better fitting position. More than 20 years later, I am still friends with the boss who hired me and still consult her on what I’m doing today. Literally, a door that closes might open up to something better. Don’t close your options by getting frustrated over an initial denial.


Every interview opportunity is a chance to learn about your strengths and challenges. When you learn to sell yourself and calibrate according to your interview audience, it’s a chance to develop your confidence, relationships and business and sales skills. Don’t get nervous, get busy. Even when you make mistakes in interviews, consider it “one bad pancake” and keep frying. You will land on your feet—one conversation at a time.

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