Why do employers insist on interviews? Just to grill you torturously? Nope. It’s to find out more about what you are like as a person. By the time you get the interview, the employer has already determined that you meet the minimum qualifications and are among the best candidates they have seen.
What does that mean for you? It means that employers are not as focused on your qualifications at this point than you might imagine. It means that they want to find out if you have the personal qualities that will make you a great teammate.
How will they know if you will make a productive teammate who is a pleasure to work with? They make this decision based on how you make them feel during the interview. If you ask interviewers if this is what they are doing, they might deny it, but studies show that buyers make decisions based on emotion and then justify them with logic. And hiring is a buyer’s decision.
What feeling do you need to evoke to have employers make you an offer? You need them to be relaxed and excited about working with you. Relaxed and excited … are those opposites? Not exactly. The best things in life make you both relaxed and energized at the same time. Think of fresh ocean air, a fantastic relationship, or a nourishing meal.
So how do you make your interviewer feel relaxed? First of all, relaxed is an energy state, and energy states are easily passed between people. In other words, if you are relaxed, your interviewer will feel relaxed. Simple but not easy.
So how do you relax yourself and the interviewer in six easy steps?
(1) Start by detaching yourself from the outcome. If you are a religious or spiritual person, you can say a prayer telling God or the universe that you are putting this in His/Her hands or the hands of Goodness. If this is the right job for you or you for it (which is really the same thing), then it will be. If not, then it will not be, and it is good either way. God/the goodness of the universe will take care of you, and you will find another job. If you are not religious or spiritual, simply trust life or trust yourself to make a job offer happen through your own efforts and the help of those who care about you.
(2) Put your focus on the interviewer. “What??” you say. “It’s all about me!!” While that feeling is normal, that attitude creates anxiety and attachment. When you put your focus instead on being of service to the employer, you will be more relaxed and speak and act with more social intelligence during the interview. If you have faith, ask that you be able to make this a great experience for your interviewer. Regardless, visualize your interviewer and you enjoying a dynamic conversation and warmly smiling as the interview ends.
An interview is your chance to charm. (3) Allow your interviewer to provide you coffee or tea (and don’t be too picky about it. If they don’t offer you something you want, just be appreciative and sip at it.) Why? Because studies show that people like you more when they do you a favor. That seems counter-intuitive, right? You would think that people would like you more when you did them a favor, but in fact the opposite is true. Our unconscious minds think that if we have done someone a favor, we must like that person.
(4) Use your sense of humor. When you laugh at people’s jokes or make them laugh, they will feel better and more relaxed. When they feel better near you, they will like you more. Not only that, but studies also show that when people laugh, their memory improves. Get people laughing, and you will stand out in their minds when they mentally review their candidate options.
(5) Listen to the interviewer, not to your inner critic. Repeat back in your own words what you hear in answer to your questions. If you say something and then immediately regret it, gently correct yourself by saying, “What I mean is …“ Do not allow yourself to go back to it until after you leave.
(6) Smile. It will make you feel happier, more relaxed, and more confident. And when you are relaxed and confident, your interviewer will be relaxed and confident in you.
Follow these six steps, and your interview will be an enjoyable, exciting opportunity to talk about the work you love. (You do love it, right? If not, you are interviewing for the wrong job.) You’ll either get the offer or be looking forward to your next chance to interview!
In part two … How do you get your interviewer excited, jazzed, pumped about working with you?
For more personalized interview preparation and other career transition assistance, email the writer, email@example.com, to request a free consultation on Your Edge for Success (YES)’ revolutionary Interview Aikido training program.