Show and Tell: Interview Tips from the Performing Arts (part one)
If you’re involved in a job search now, or have ever been in one, you’ve probably felt the love / hate relationship that interviews provoke.
The love part is easy. An interview means you’ve made it past at least one gatekeeper and you’re another step closer to getting that job. Being called or asked to a meeting indicates that your professional documentation (resume, cover letter, digital portfolio, LinkedIn profile, etc.) is good enough to place you near the top of the hiring person’s pile of candidates. It's likely you've been creating and maintaining relationships with your network so that someone stepped in on your behalf. All good.
Still, there’s the interview...
It doesn’t matter what stage, age or level in your career you’re at, presenting yourself at an interview (or at other events like networking) can be a painful necessity or downright scary.
Believe it or not, I’ve actually had some clients who enjoy the whole interview process, a handful of folks who eagerly and confidently embrace opportunities to become real to the person(s) who can recommend them for next steps.
What do they know?
They know that putting a human face, their face, on the job description is the goal. They may be doing this naturally or they're putting into practice some of the same skills used by actors, musicians, and dancers. These easy to learn strategies bring the best of you forward so the people who need to recognize what you have to offer, will.
Though there are all sorts of interviews (explanation of current types), with technology enabled versions showing up more and more often, today's post focuses on the in-person or remote type interview in which you and your interviewer(s) can see and hear each other.
Tip: Embody the qualities the job requires.
Dancers and actors know that humans receive 80% of information from what is unsaid; we get impressions visually, energetically, and intuitively. So, when your unspoken language enhances what you're saying, the whole impression is just that, complete. And impressive.
But, you're not an actor or dancer.
Maybe not, however, if you've applied to a job, it’s safe to assume that you already know you possess many of the skills and qualities needed to do that job. You've used them in many situations in your life and work, intentionally or not.
One of the best interviewees I know (SDR, you know who you are!) has been offered every job she has interviewed for. She describes her interview technique this way,
I emphasize the qualities the job requires, so I am already acting the part. I use my voice, body language and, of course, my words, to convey the answers to the questions- showing how I am, who I am, and how I can be in the role I'm applying for.
Like SDR, you can prepare for your interview by looking at the job description and identifying qualities of personality are integral to the job.
Are you applying for a job in which a warm, open and welcoming persona is a huge part of your work (think customer service, hospitality, teaching, sales, etc)? Amplify the inviting part of you and invite it to show up; express it to everyone you meet from the moment you walk in the door until you leave the premises or sign off.
Does the job require setting firm boundaries, too? Then bring forward a more commanding tone and stronger body language when answering questions that concern how you do this. When describing a story in which you've done this before, find your own natural gestures or postures to indicate you're serious assertive.
There are many ways to apply this tip to your interview preparation. Adding this approach can bring you to a level of ease in your presentation likely to end in stronger connection with your interviewer, an increase in your self-confidence, and a lasting impression.
Wonder how to deal with the rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, doubts and even dread that show up before and even during an interview? More Show and Tell coming your way.
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