Give Good Gut...
Actresses know that in order to snag the part, they must deliver a performance that causes an emotional response in their audience. And while no Human Resource professional will ever admit this, of all the hundreds of people who I have hired, "Gut" played a large role. A very close friend of mine who is a CEO of big dot-com and has done lots of hiring told us that "Gut" is the single most influential factor in whether they hire someone or not -- be it a man or a woman.
Here are a few of the ways you can give interviewers Good Gut:
Feel Powerful. Do whatever you have to do before you go to make yourself feel your own power. I once learned an invaluable lesson in an acting class in college. The professor said that the student actors should always rehearse and perform in the exact shoes that they feel the character would be wearing. He felt it would make them "feel" the authenticity of the part. To this day, I will always drop the bucks for the perfect shoes for every occasion, and I swear by it. If wearing sexy underwear or having a $100 bill in your purse gives you a feeling of power and confidence, make sure you do it for every job interview. When I went on (and still do) go to interviews, I always had a professional manicure less than 24 hours old for just this reason, even if I had one only two days prior.
Eye contact. Look the interviewer in the eyes as often as you can. When we are nervous, we tend to not look people in the eye. If you don't though, the interviewer is likely to think you are lying. If you stink at looking people in the eye, look right between (on the bridge of the nose), the interviewer can't tell the difference. Practice this, you CAN do it- - looking people in the eye comes from habit not heredity.
Handshake. Not too firm (owieee), please not too soft (eeewwwee), no limp wrist, no clammy mitts (wipe em!). Thumb joint to thumb joint. Practice this, too. Ask your close guy friends to evaluate your handshake on a scale of one to ten. Keep working on it till they all say ten. Also, don't wait for someone to stick out his hand. You go first. And don't stick that hand out there without the smile. If you are on the receiving end of the deadfish, try not to wince, and don't wipe your hand on your thigh if you've been clammied.
Connect. Say something nice. "Nice shoes, beautiful office, cool tie," which in essence tells the interviewer: "You make good choices, of which I will be one." But don't try too hard.
Read the signals. If they've capped their pen, you are talking too much. When they stop taking notes, stop talking. If they close their pads, look at their watch, or drum anything including fingers on foreheads, shift gears, stop pontificating and ask a super smart question about themselves: "This seems like a fabulous place to work. How long have you worked here at Sider Road Media?" Make sure you say the name of the company correctly!
Be comfortable in silence. Sometimes interviewers are just thinking, or they might be trying to test how quickly you become uncomfortable. Don't feel the need to fill the void with babble.
Make her job easier. Chances are good the interviewer is not prepared. Make it easier for her by bringing several crisp copies of your resume -- make sure it is the exact same version you sent to the company originally. Also arm yourself with some intelligent questions: "How does this job position fit in with Broken Record, Inc.'s main mission?"
Make sure you know what the mission is. To prepare the best questions, go to the company's website and read the "About Us" section and surf through the industry association's website. Some of the girls who call me admit that they never check out the company website until after their first interview, when they are sure they are really interested in the job. Most of the time, at that point it's too late, and the second interview never comes. Do your homework before you go.
Write me at Jocelyn@SiderRoad.com with questions or comments.