It often surprises me when I meet someone who looks great on paper, but falls flat as a pancake in a job interview. How can someone who can articulate themselves so well on their CV, fail to do so well face-to-face? I started to analyse where people fall short most, and came up with the 3 Ps of how to perfect your job interview.
The biggest mistake some people make in a job interview is assuming the interviewer has all the power. Why is this such an issue?
Using the fundamental basis of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it can be explained as such:
Thoughts -> Emotions -> Behaviour -> Results
The thoughts we have, determine the emotions we feel. The emotions we feel determine how we behave in any given situation (how we act, what decisions we make, our performance). Our behaviour will then determine the results or outcomes we get in our lives.
If you go into a job interview with the thought “They have all the power” what emotions will you feel? Nervous? Stressed? Desperate? And when you feel these emotions, how will you perform and come across in the job interview? Not as well as you would have hoped I imagine. And when you don’t perform well in a job interview, what is the result? Chances are you won’t get the job.
But if you go in there believing you also have power. That it’s an equal playing field. How differently will you feel in that interview? Confident, self-assured, comfortable? And how will this affect your ability to articulately answer questions and make a good first impression? And when you come across as confident, what then happens to your chances of getting the job?
Some global business leaders, including Richard Branson, have openly admitted they have hired on attitude and confidence alone. Confidence is crucial to any job interview. Confidence simply being comfortable in your own skin. Knowing you don’t have to try to be someone you’re not. Because you, as you are, are enough.
So, where do you get your power from?
a) Being CERTAIN of your VALUE – what it is you have to offer (or your UVP – see below). The more you buy into your potential, the higher the chance others will.
b) Recognise it IS an even playing field – the employer has a gap they need to fill. A gap that is costing them money every day it is left open. They need you as much as you need them. Sure they might have 4 or 5 people to choose from, but for all they know, you could be interviewing with other companies – making you a highly desirable (and scarce) resource. Even employers suffer from “FOMO”.
c) Get clarity on the PURPOSE of the interview – the purpose is to see if you are a good match. For EACH OTHER. The job interview is not just a one way street. They have to impress you as much as you them.
2) PERSONAL BRAND
Before you go into any job interview, you must have clearly defined your Personal Brand. Exactly what it is you are selling. As part of this, you must establish your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
UVP = Ʃ (Skills + Experience + Achievements + Values + Attitude + Behavioural Competencies)
To ace a job interview, you need to show you understand the needs of the employer, and how well your unique combination of skills, experience, achievements etc. match those needs. Write a list of everything you have accumulated over your career and look for ways to link what you have done to what is it they want to achieve. You are focusing purely on gathering information that is relevant to the role and company you are applying to.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
If you really, really, really want to succeed in a job interview, preparation is the key. You must have researched, learnt and understood everything you can about the company. Their business model. Their challenges. Their goals. The role. How it fits into the overall company strategy. Their regional focus. The leaders. The interviewers. The line manager. The team. The industry. My previous article “3 Ways to Impress Any Interviewer” offers some great advice on how to capitalise on this.
You will also need to prepare your answers for standard job interview questions. You’re aiming at about 30 seconds for each answer. You’ll never know for definite what they will ask you. But generally, the same questions come up again and again. Many of these are on the internet. You will also find some example questions and tips on how to answer them in my previous post here: how to prepare for an interview.
The idea is to prepare in such a way that you are always seeking to answer the question: “How can I show them what I have matches their needs?”.
The other key thing to prepare is intelligent questions to ask the interviewer. This is crucial for two reasons. First, it shows the employer you take your career seriously and you’re not just interviewing for the sake of having a job. Any job. Second – and most important – it gives you the opportunity to make sure they are the right employer for you. They share the same values as you and will be able to provide you with the development and career progression you are looking for.
I chose 3 Ps as 3 is an easy number to remember. If I was to add a 4th, it would be “Passion”. Passion for the role, the company and the industry. Passion sells. If you can demonstrate you truly believe in what you do and why you want to work for them, the employer will buy into you.
What other P’s would you add to this list?
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About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.