Interview Tips

As a younger job seeker, if you want to interview at a higher level, you must approach your interactions with hiring managers in a methodical, mature manner. Part of this means understanding persuasion techniques as well as changing your pre-interviewing preparation habits.

Here is what our recruiters suggest:

1. Understand the difference between informative and emotional answers:

One of the biggest mistakes interviewers of all ages make is that they answer the questions with excessive facts, statistics or other forms of evidence. Despite their answers being comprehensive, they evoke little to no emotion in the interviewer and the hiring manager has trouble relating to that person.

By the close of an interview, the HR or recruitment head should be excited about either seeing you again or bringing you on board. Part of the way you evoke this excitement is through compelling opening and closing statements – when answering your questions, grab their attention right off the bat, then keep them listening.

Here’s a good example:

If an interviewer asks “Why do you want this job?”, you can answer two ways:

  1. I studied marketing and enjoy social media and it’s my strongest point.
  2. Over any other activity I do, I am happiest when I am either writing or on social media or formulating websites. I think there is an art to marketing and I plan to attempt to perfect that art slowly, but surely.

2. Silence is not always a bad thing:

Some interviewers play their cards close to their chest. These hiring managers tend to remain silent during the majority of the conversation. The majority of their answers will be one or two words – a simple “yes” or “no”.

This results in the applicant feeling as if they have to continue monologuing which trips them up. Sooner or later, silence drives most interviewees nuts and, eventually erodes their performance.

If the interviewer is not talking, get them to speak. It’s as easy as engaging them with a basic question. Asking them an open-ended inquiry such as “What are your thoughts regarding this?” should warrant a comprehensive response.

The ideal interview should be you speaking 30 – 45% of the time. If you find yourself much higher than that, even things out. The worst thing young job seekers do is take their demeanor personally and detach from the conversation. Don’t detach, rather engage the other party.

3. Your iPhone is not your friend. Turn your phone and computers off for 20 mins:

Every interview you go into should warrant your undivided attention; otherwise, your performance will significantly drop.

A study at the University of California, Irvine, found that people interrupted by e-mail reported significantly increased stress compared with those left to focus. Stress hormones have been shown to reduce short-term memory, said Gary Small, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Scientists say juggling email, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

Give your mind some time to think prior to running into an interview.  This means cutting off all communication to the outside world.

In the End:

Demonstrate your strength as an interviewee both affirmatively and methodically.  Stay away from the iPhone and try not to make sweeping assumptions regarding the actions of the recruiting managers.

About Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. He is also a writer for Forbes. Follow Ken on Twitter @Ken_Sundheim.

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