Personal Interview secrets

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Personal Interview secrets

  1. 1. IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL JOB INTERVIEWS - Visual & Verbal Branding 2 Feb 2007 by Pang Su Woon
  2. 2. Communicating Your Value Via Branding There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts : what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it. - Dale Carnegie
  3. 3. Why Some Candidates Have the Right Credentials & Not Hired? Important Premise to Understand :  Hiring decisions are made on emotion and justified with logic.  The hiring process is based on perception, not reality.  Recruiters’ aim is not to hire technical ROBOTS which can do the job; but to hire PEOPLE who can do the job & work with other PEOPLE.
  4. 4. Clearing the 30s Hurdle with a Positive Halo Effect  Psychologists divide job interviews into two parts. Dr. Joyce Brothers refers to the 1st part as the “30s hurdle” – a crucial half-minute where most employers make up their minds about the candidate based on the halo effect.  A positive halo effect can help people think you are even better than you are. A negative halo effect will make it virtually impossible to ace the 2nd part of the interview.
  5. 5. You only have one chance to create a first impression !
  6. 6. How First Impressions Are Formed  The visuals – your attire, facial expressions, body language.  The verbals – your vocal qualities, articulation, the way you greet & speak. Premise reminder : The hiring process is based on perception, not reality.
  7. 7. Importance of Appropriate Interview Attire  When you dress like a professional, you are likely to be treated as one, and that’s a good head start to give yourself without saying a word.  Nine out of ten recruiters will reject an unsuitably dressed applicant without a second thought.  It helps you to have a confident self-image.
  8. 8. Guidelines on Men’s Attire  Men’s Shirt - “safe colors” : white, cream, pale blue, navy blue, dark blue, grey, light lavender - avoid black, red, yellow - wear pale colors if you have dark complexion; pale colors draw attention to your face - cotton shirts look better and hold up perspiration more impressively than their synthetic counterparts
  9. 9. Guidelines on Men’s Attire  Ties - pure silk ties makes the most powerful professional impact, has the best finish and best feel, and is the easiest to tie - alternative choice : tie with 50 percent wool/50 percent silk blend (which is almost wrinkle proof) - ties should complement your shirt, not match it (i.e. they should neither vanish into or battle with your shirt) - when wearing a tie, it should be about 2 inches beneath your waist.
  10. 10. Guidelines on Men’s Attire  Men’s Shoes - either black or brown leather; stay away from other materials and colors - opt for black if you can only afford to have one pair of shoes for interview - attend to the shine of your shoes  Socks - wear dark dress socks, avoid socks that do not match your shoe color (e.g. grey socks with brown shoes)
  11. 11. Guidelines on Men’s Attire  Men’s Pants - should be darker than your shirt color for a balanced look - the color of your pants should complement the color of your shirt (e.g. grey pants match better with pastel shirts rather than black pants) - if your ankles are exposed, that means your pants are too short
  12. 12. Guidelines on Men’s Attire  Men’s Hair - get a hair cut once a month - remove facial hair, otherwise, it may cost you some points in the image department  Scents - you might be tempted to add an extra splash of aftershave or cologne, don’t do it! Use it sparingly. Some people are allergic to fragrances.
  13. 13. Guidelines on Women’s Attire  Suits & Shirts - a 2-piece matching suit gives the best impression - opt for solid colors (e.g. deep blue, grey, cream) - avoid an all-black/red suit - while pants can be an acceptable work attire, avoid wearing it to the interview - avoid wearing dresses to interviews - choose fabrics that hang well (e.g. cotton-polyester blends) and don’t wrinkle excessively (e.g. linens are lovely, but they get wrinkled easily) - the cleanest & most professional look – the simple solid navy or grey suit with a white shirt
  14. 14. Guidelines on Women’s Attire  Women’s Shoes - the color of the shoes should always be the same tone or a darker tone than the skirt - the pump or court shoe, with its closed toe and heel, is the safest and most conservative look - heel height is important : flats are fine, a shoe with a heel up to 2.5 inches is acceptable - stay away from high heels - the toe of the shoe should not be overly pointed
  15. 15. Guidelines on Women’s Attire  Stockings - should be in natural color, close to your natural skin color  Jewelry - avoid anything that jingles or makes noise. Necklaces may be worn as long as they are not the focal point – you want interviewers concentrating on your face, not your necklace.
  16. 16. Guidelines on Women’s Attire  Women’s Hair - for ladies with short hair, pay attention to the shape/style of your hair - style long hair in a conservative manner, bun it up or tie a ponytail to avoid having your hair falling in your face.  Makeup - should be subtle and natural, avoid bright colors. Stay away from excessive face powder that gives a pancake- makeup, aged appearance.
  17. 17. Summary on Interview Wardrobe  If you have budget constraint, go for quality rather than quantity.  Don’t hesitate to enlist the advice of someone who is known for his/her taste in clothing. Better to be embarrassed before one friend (your wardrobe advisor) than in front of several strangers (your interviewers).  When you know you look right, you can stop worrying about the impression your clothes are making and concentrate on communicating your message.
  18. 18. Body Language  The Greeting For a good handshake : - your hands should be clean and free of perspiration - use only one hand and always shake vertically to show cooperation; do not extend your hand parallel to the floor with the palms up, this conveys submissiveness. Do not extend your hand outward with the palms facing down, this conveys aggression. - offer a firm handshake, avoid a limp or bone-crushing one - smile during the handshake - establish good eye contact when shaking hands  Maintain Proper Eye Contact - it shows respect for the interviewer - avoid gazing too long at a female interviewer - avoid examining the interviewer below the head and shoulder
  19. 19. Body Language  Taking Your Seat - it is not only polite but sound business sense to wait until the interviewer offers you a seat. - avoid placing your file/bag in front of you – it acts as a physical barrier between you and the interviewer. - avoid placing your hand on the table – you are crossing over people’s boundary. Place your hand on your lap. - avoid slouching, lean slightly forward to show interest and friendliness towards the interviewer. - avoid crossing your legs. If you really need some stability, cross your ankles instead as it’s virtually unnoticeable.
  20. 20. Body Language  Nod your head periodically to show interest and to validate the comments of the interviewer.  Certain repetitive gestures (like constantly adjusting your tie, or playing with your watch) is not only irritating to the interviewer, but also a sign of insecurity.  Smile at appropriate occasions. An unforced, confident smile is one of the most positive body signals you can send.  Subtly exposing your palms now and then as you speak can help demonstrate that you are open, friendly, and have nothing to hide. Learn from politicians and TV talk show hosts.
  21. 21. Summary on Body Language  You body is constantly sending out messages. Understanding and monitoring your body language will give you added power to turn interviews into cooperative exchanges between two professionals.  Your body language tells interviewers whether you have confidence in yourself, whether you are pleasant to be around, and whether you are more likely to be honest or deceitful.
  22. 22. Verbal Branding The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly. - William Bernbach, American advertising executive
  23. 23. Using Your Vocal Qualities to Market Yourself  Avoid speaking in a monotonous voice.  Add warmth and energy to your voice to reflect enthusiasm. Periodic smiling helps   Avoid speaking at machine-gun speed.  Vary the rate of speech, inflection and AR-TI-CU-LATE.  Monitor your usual conversational style. If it’s overly aggressive, tone it down. If it’s lacking in energy, sound more enthusiastic.
  24. 24. Preparing Your Three-Point Marketing Message  It is a short sound bite, less than 30s, used to convey your unique selling points, your passions and/or your career interest.  The 3 points might be your technical expertise, unique experience, your soft skills and personality traits.
  25. 25. Creating Your Message Some samples :  My background is unique because …..  Since young, I have always been drawn to….  As a EEE student from NTU, I have been well trained in …  I was a Hall Leader and that has honed my ….. skills.  I have always been passionate about …  My IA experience has helped me to be ….  I’m very good at …
  26. 26. Creating Your Message  Use grammatically parallel language in describing the three terms or phrases so that the wording flows better.  Samples of 3-Point Sound Bite : - My role as a treasurer of the EEE club has helped me to be a better problem solver, communicator and team worker. - I am interested in this field because since young, I’ve always like to investigate how things work, find solutions to problems and construct models.
  27. 27. Verbal Branding Through Story Telling  Why mastering the art of telling stories is important ? - the latest brain research reveals that memories are stored as 3-D pictures. That means if your words do not create any images or emotions in the minds of employers, they will probably forget about you the minute you leave the interviewing room.
  28. 28. Preparing Your Success Stories  Everyone can uncover success stories, especially when this definition is adopted : Success story – an anecdote or account providing evidence that you have the knowledge, hard & soft skills, and positive personality traits to excel in the target job.  Although you’ll want the majority of your success stories to have a positive outcome, it’s acceptable to include anecdotes that describe an unsuccessful attempt or lesson learned.
  29. 29. Types of Stories You Should Prepare  Success stories that reflect your hard/soft skills or positive personality traits in the following contexts: - NTU or previous education - ECAs - Project experience - IA / Work Experience / Overseas Experience - Community work - Events that change your life
  30. 30. The SARs Approach in Story Telling  Situation : frame the story with contextual details. What was the specific situation/problem you faced? Where & when did it occur? Who was involved? What was the impact of the situation?  Actions : What specific actions did you take to tackle the task, overcome the challenge, or resolve the issue? If others were involved, how did you interacted with them? What were your thoughts or decision-making process? What was your specific role in relation to the team?  Results : What measurable or positive outcome did you achieve? How did it impact you / your friends/ supervisor/ team-mates etc? What skills/knowledge did you learn from the situation ? If the outcome was not rosy, what were the lessons learnt?
  31. 31. Why You Should Prepare Stories?  Interviewers will be impressed because you can offer concrete evidence of your success stories.  Interviewers will remember you over other candidates who provided vague, unspecific responses.  You will feel more confident during interviews because you have prepared sufficient “ammunition” to tackle interviewers’ questions. How many stories should you prepare?
  32. 32. Verbal Branding Through Projecting a Winning Personality Premise Reminder : Hiring Decisions are Based on Emotion, and Justified with Logic.  On a conscious or unconscious level, employers will be evaluating your personality and asking, “Do I like this person, and will we work well together”; “Do I have chemistry with this candidate, or is he living in a different planet from me?”  Why do employers want evidence that a candidate is already strong in the personality traits deemed critical for the job? This is because it’s very difficult to improve people’s personality through training.  Your challenge is to get the employer to like you. While your competitors are busy merely describing their competencies, you should sell you personality traits as well as your other transferable skills and expertise.
  33. 33. Selling Personality Traits & Transferable Skills  State the skill/personality trait and then give an example to back it up.  When selling a skill/trait using a specific experience, describe the experience so vividly that some of your personality skills are clearly evidenced.  Be it. That is, demonstrate that you possess the skill. (cheerfulness, insightfulness, joyfulness, self-confidence, enthusiasm, sense of humor, and sincerity are all traits that can be demonstrated.)
  34. 34. Universally Desired Personality Traits  Appreciative  Confident, yet not arrogant  Energetic and enthusiastic  Responsible and resourceful  Tactful and mature  Effective under stress  Cooperative  Personable  Sincere
  35. 35. Image Worksheet – Visual & Verbal Branding 1. Write a few sentences about how you want networking contacts and potential employers to perceive you. 2. What behaviors or attitudes do you already exhibit that are consistent with this description? What do you need to do to ensure that these behaviors or attitudes are evident to the interviewer? 3. What image elements will you improve on or enhance? How will you do so?
  36. 36. Creating Chemistry & Connecting with Interviewers (R.E.S.P.O.N.D)  R – Remember your objective. That is to gain employment by educating the interview of your value. Stay focused on your strengths. Be selective about how much you say. Resist the urge to tell all, over-explain, or apologize for any short-comings.  E – Engage the interviewer. Practice active listening to determine employers’ needs. Eye contact, open body language, facial animation, and appropriate gestures are important.  S – Share succinctly. Know what your point is, and get to it quickly.
  37. 37. Creating Chemistry & Connecting with Interviewers (R.E.S.P.O.N.D)  P – Point to benefits. State how your hard/soft skills/ knowledge or personality traits can help the company.  O – Offer concrete evidence to proof your value. Without specific proof, recruiters won’t be impressed/convinced.  N – Never drone on. Two to three minutes seems to be the extent of people’s attention. Pay attention to interviews body language/facial expressions to get a clue of whether you are over-telling.  D – Dedicate yourself to a win-win relationship. Never manipulate a conversation towards a selfish agenda.
  38. 38. Connecting with Different Types of Interviewers  Interviewers have the tendency to hire in their own image. For instance, logic-driven, business-minded executives have a tendency to hire a logic-driven, all-business candidates. Creative, spontaneous managers have a tendency to hire creative, spontaneous candidates. Ideally, recruiters should hire candidates who complement them. Hire with Your Head (Adler)
  39. 39. Profiles of the 4 Personality Temperaments The Idealist How to Identify? Value personal growth and interested in bringing meaning, and harmony to peoples’ lives. Creative, intuitive, ethical, sympathetic, insightful. Often drawn to human services roles, counseling, social work, teaching and facilitator roles. How to connect? Acknowledge the importance of harmony in work relationships and an ideal, meaningful work environment. Use metaphors to drive home points. Be thoughtful around an idealist! Example wording. “When working with team members, I think it’s important to help each other develop and grow, both professional and personally.”
  40. 40. Profiles of the 4 Personality Temperaments The Guardian or Traditionalist How to identify? Typically takes pleasure in playing by the rules, bringing order and structure to organization, following chain of command, and doing the right. Often drawn to management, engineering, programming and technical roles. How to connect? Deliver factual, reality-based responses in a sequential, logical, detailed fashion. Value stability, rules, regulations and conformity. Be respectful and logical around the Guardian or Traditionalist. Example wording. “When working with team members, I like to provide enough structure so that people know what’s expected of them.”
  41. 41. Profiles of the 4 Personality Temperaments The Rational Conceptualizer How to identify? Persistently and consistently rational in their actions. Analytical, systematic, competent, efficient, exacting and independent. Understands abstract or complex, theoretical ideas. Often drawn to management or executive roles. How to connect? Emphasize impressive training or credentials. Stress visioning, logic, innovation, mastery, progress and excellence. Be confident around the Rational Conceptualizer. Example wording. “When working with team members, I set big-vision goals, assign the most qualified person to individual tasks, and settle for nothing less than excellence.”
  42. 42. Profiles of the 4 Personality Temperaments Artisan or Experiencer How to identify ? Lives for action, adventure, and the present moment. Risk taker. Likes autonomy, action, variety, and freedom for spontaneity. Stays open to possibilities. Often drawn to performer, crisis management, sales or negotiator roles. How to connect? Deliver solutions that are practical and effective to help them get what they want. Value action, excitement, and variety. Avoid giving too much details. Be practical around an Artisan or Experiencer. Sample wordings. “When working with team members, I give people the freedom to act autonomously. What’s important is what we accomplish.
  43. 43. Example of Observation Skill of a Student (used with student’s permission) Dear Ms Pang,  Thank you for the help. :) I will definitely synergize your comments with what taught in resume workshop. Hence I hope that this will make a better resume that the company wants to see.   There are 2 things I want to say: • I like your desk arrangement because it is the first time I saw such arrangement. Unlike the unintentionally giving territory-like signal to students whereby the lecturer will sit behind his/her desk and face directly to the door, I feel that your arrangement will help a student to feel more free to talk and less distant. Maybe I can use this idea for my manager office in future. • I also like your working environment because there are full of beautiful pictures to help relax one's mind. There is even an armchair. What a cosy place. Your excellent style of making oneself enjoy in a cosy working environment will be my future reference for my office and home.
  44. 44. The Importance of Perceptive Powers in Interviewers  Attend interviews with your eyes open. Notice your surroundings, and in particular, get clues about what interviewers think from their facial expression and body language.  By gauging the personality of the interviewers, you are better able to adapt your responses style and, connect and create chemistry with your interviewers.
  45. 45. Conclusion  Connecting is all about communicating – not just giving out information, but getting through to people.  While it may feel daunting that people can perceive the world very differently from you, connecting with interviewers will come more easily as you carefully observe and listen to people.  The simple act of being aware that people have different values and temperaments will put you far ahead of most of your competitors.  Be yourself. But you also need to be your best !

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