In part one of this series, we reviewed several uncommon interview preparation strategies that got us safely to the interviewer’s door, well prepared to tackle the challenges that lay ahead. This article addresses small but effective strategies to employ from the point of office entry to the interview’s conclusion.
Waiting Room Reading
Now that you’ve arrived 15 minutes early, you have some time to kill. How do we normally spend this time? We usually read from the available periodicals on the waiting room table. But remember that we’re covering the little details here. You should pay a little attention to the types of magazines you pick up in the waiting room. What if our magazines were placed out there to see which one you would pick up, perhaps trying to get a gauge on your interests? Many companies use a variety of personality assessment tactics to assist with their decision making processes.
If you notice any material on the table on the company itself, then select that one to skim through. If not, try to stick to business or industry related periodicals. Your safest option is to bring your own reading material on the company for additional interview preparation. But you want to avoid handling numerous and separate documents that can be dropped when the interviewer comes out to get you, which can be quite embarrassing.
Deadly Small Talk
A not-so-common technique used by interviewers to acquire information from you through the back door is by using the technique of pre-interview small talk. A simple question such as “How was your Christmas?” can tell an interviewer your marital status, whether or not you have children, and details about your religious beliefs, all of which are illegal for them to inquire about directly … and the interview hasn’t even begun!
Be mindful of your conversation subject matter and try not to give away every parameter of your life before the interview starts. But don’t take it the other way and become overly guarded.
Eye Contact (well, sort of)
There isn’t a single writing on interview advice that doesn’t address maintaining eye contact with the interviewer. This communicates that you are attentive and confident. But has anyone ever stared into your eyes (other than your significant other) for any significant period of time without it being a little uncomfortable?
Instead of taking a chance on staring a hole through the person who holds your career in their hands, use the “four corners technique” which entails rotating your glance every few seconds in a diamond pattern from the lower forehead, to the outside corner of one eye, to the nose, to the outside of the other eye, and back to the lower forehead.
The attentive effect remains while the stare-down effect disappears, reducing the occurrence of interviewer discomfort. It may be what makes your interviewer communicate to the other decision-makers “I just felt more comfortable with this candidate than I did for the others.”
Let’s bypass the tips about the rest of the interview process, namely taking notes, preparing questions for the interviewer, and avoiding long-winded answers, all subjects you’ve read about in the other numerous interview articles you’ve read. So, let’s skip right to the end of the interview.
Perhaps the most important strategy you can employ in you interview is to close strong with an excellent summary of what you can do for the interviewer’s team or the company in general. As part of your interview preparation process, you should consider the strengths and attributes you possess that best fit the job description, and develop a closing that delivers a convincing argument for giving you the position. The idea is to leave a memorable impression on the interviewer that lasts through the evaluation process.
Remember: preparation, contingency planning, and confidence. Now, make it happen!