Originally posted by myself on Mahola Answers:
There are all sorts of tips and tricks for job interviews out there. Most are extremely basic, and do not tell someone anything they shouldn’t already know. I’m going to provide you with mine. These are techniques I have not seen discussed elsewhere, and they have sort of been “my little secret” for the last several years. It is based primarily on psychology.
The first thing is to rebalance who is in the position of power. This is an important step, but must be done with skill, so as not to come across as being a struggle for control.
In any interview, the one being interviewed is at a disadvantage, just by the very structure. You need to move away, skillfully, from being the one on the hot seat answering the questions, to being the one asking them yourself. This is critical. Do not come into an interview thinking “What can I say to prove my worth to my potential employer?”, come into the interview thinking “How can my potential employer prove their value to me?”.
This mindset will immediately make you a much more attractive candidate than those you are competing with who are trying to prove themselves. Keep in mind, you should have a series of questions you need answered for you to decide if you even want this job. A little story I will share with readers, is my interview with a large retail corporation years ago. After being kept waiting 20 minutes past when my interview was scheduled, I was greeted by a rather pompous and arrogant manager who apologized for the delay flippantly. She said, “Sorry about keeping you waiting… don’t worry this won’t take long”. This really spoke volumes to me about her mentality, and immediately put me off. Her first question to me once we were seated was “So, why do you want to work for us?”, to which I laughed at her and said “Well, I’m not sure I do, yet. I mean, really, talk about being presumptuous. I told her I’d have to ask a few questions to see if that would be worth my while. She seemed surprised (I guess that I wasn’t groveling for the honor of working for such a respected corporation). She also seemed suddenly very interested in what I was saying. In the end, I turned her down, and walked out of there after politely shaking her hand, but not before she tried “sweetening the deal” a few times. She also seemed a whole lot more polite than she did when she implied our interview “wouldn’t take long” (unlike the one that ran overtime and left me waiting). That interview ended up being 15 minutes, which I suspect is 10 minutes longer than what she intended, and ended when I decided I had heard enough, rather than when she had.
The fact you will not take whatever a company offers you, will raise the company’s interest level in you. This is something many people never understand. Employment, in some ways, is like a relationship. If you’re on a first date with a person who seems so insecure their only concern is whether or not you like them, and what they can do for you, what impression will that make? Will you chose that person over one who sees the relationship should be mutually beneficial and wants to know what you bring to the table, in return? Well, I’d hope not…
The other technique I use, aside from taking the role of interviewer myself, is to get them as off-the-list as possible. Do not give them an opportunity to go through that little paper they have with you, if you can avoid it. Look for the first opportunity you can find to discover what makes them happy. Yes, what makes them happy as a person… Do not worry about the company. This is about your interaction with another human being. Use the items in their office and what they tell you as cues. Get them talking about their interests. I once spent 20 minutes in a job interview (mostly listening) in a conversation about the woman’s pets. I don’t even like pets… but she sure did. Her eyes lit up as she talked about them. My job at that point was to get her talking about pets as long as I possibly could.
At the end of the interview, how you made that person feel is what is going to make the biggest impact upon them. First, show them you are a valued asset by valuing yourself, and then make a personal connection with them by letting them tell you what they value (whether it is work related, or even better, not work related at all). You make them feel good, and they will want you around. Just like in a relationship. It is as simple as that.
This works, at least, for jobs you are qualified for, which unless you are trying something very experimental or enjoy rejection, should be the only ones you are interviewing at to begin with.
I hope this helps! I better not end up competing with you one day, though, or I will kick myself for posting this. 😉