For those of you who read my posts, you know that while I like sharing a lot of tips and tricks I have learned over the years, I just cannot do it without incorporating some sort of geeky passion of mine. As it is Halloween time and I am a massive horror movie fan, I give you my Halloween version of best interviewing practices for all you folks looking to crush your interviews. Interviews can be a scary proposition, especially for those of you who haven’t done much of it. No need to be frightened if you follow these tips.
1. The Shining – First of all – GREAT movie. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t know if we can be friends. In the movie, the young boy has psychic powers he shares with a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel that he calls “the shining”. Basically – they can read each others thoughts. Unfortunately, when it comes to interviews this is not a possibility. Express yourself and don’t leave much to assumption. When asked a question, be sure to state clearly and confidently your answer and speak in a way that expresses passion and excitement for what you did or will do for the company you are interviewing for. Make eye contact and watch your body language. While you may think you are coming across as a confident go getter, your slouching posture in the chair might suggest otherwise. Be clear, concise, passionate and confident. We hiring peeps like confidence and we most definitely cannot read your mind.
2. Saw – not so much a fan of this franchise, but if you can give the villain in Saw credit for anything, that was one PREPARED dude. He did his homework and research with all of his elaborate traps and schemes. It is absolutely essential for you to prepare for your interview. You should research the company, the people you will be meeting with, their products and business model, etc. If you do not prepare you will look disinterested and it is a big turn off for interviewers. Do your research and you will already be one step ahead of the competition. Plus, knowing the company can help you prepare your answers as to how you can potentially help them and their business.
3. Silence of The Lambs – not so much a horror movie by my take, but rather a great psychological thriller featuring one of the most complex and terrifying characters ever – Dr. Hannibal Lecter. As a trained psychologist, he was playing chess with everyone he spoke with while they were playing checkers. Interviewers these days are trained to ask you behavioral questions to uncover your thinking because of the mantra “what you did in the past is what you will do in the future”. You can see these coming if they begin with “tell me about a time” or “describe a situation” and follow the S T A R methodology. S – what was the situation, T – what was the task you were asked to do, A – what action(s) did you take to achieve that task and R – what were the results. Frame your answers with the understanding that you are theoretically giving the interviewers a view into what you did is what you will do for them. As an example, if you are asked about a team situation, best give an example where you worked collaboratively and not use a lot of “I” and “me”s. You don’t want to end up like Dr. Lecter’s many victims.
4. Army of Darkness – An all-time favorite of mine – although more “horror/comedy” than straight horror. Our hero, Ash Williams, goes back in time to the dark ages and is literally a man out of time. Lesson here? Be on time. As a matter of fact, be 15 minutes early. Showing up late is never good form. As Ash himself would say – “groovy”.
5. Poltergeist – in the movie, young Carol Ann kept giving the family warnings of the ghostly presence, even at one point quite literally saying “they’re here” and yet no one listened. Listening is as key to a successful interview as anything you might say. By listening intently, you can truly gauge the true interest and meaning behind the questions being asked, and also get real insight into the needs the company has and how you may be able to solve them. I know you might be excited or nervous on an interview, but listening is a skill you need to use for a successful interview. Your ability to interpret and react to what is being said could be your ticket to a job offer.
6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Ah – good old Leatherface. Let’s just say that mask was “organic”. While I don’t recommend Leatherface’s dressing tips, it is important to dress to the business environment you are interviewing for. Interviewing at a buttoned up firm? Wear a suit. Interviewing at a casual start up? Wear something a bit less formal. If you have doubts about how to dress – ask the recruiter.
7. Pet Cemetery – really creepy movie. The images of that undead cat still give me nightmares. My point here is that you can’t go back again – so make it count. There is no ancient Indian burial ground to resurrect your interview, so remember these tips and you should be to do just fine.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Enjoy your Halloween and happy interviewing!