Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Communicate Yourself: There is only ONE secret to interview success.

By Angela Guido, Founder, Communicate Yourself

It’s easy to get lost in technique. Premeditating your personal stories does make it easier to tell them. Communicating yourself effectively does have an impact. Making eye contact and not saying “um” or “like” too much do send a certain signal. But all of that will happen naturally if you know this one secret. There is really only one thing that matters in a job interview. Ready for the secret? Here it is: YOU ARE GREAT. You are. Already. Just as you are right now. If you know that and believe it, the interview will be a success.

Think about it. There you are forced into a small room for an extended period of time with one other human being – a stranger. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. Add to that the fact that they are supposed to be evaluating you and that you both have certain personal objectives riding on the interaction and it is a recipe for self-doubt, stifled expression, and preoccupation with everything but the conversation at hand. It’s easy to think that practicing more, memorizing more, and technique-ing yourself into perfection will make it go smoother. But in fact, we have found that instead of helping you relax into the conversation, ironically all of those things can increase the pressure and distract you even more from your only job in that room: SIMPLY BEING YOUR GREAT SELF. You won’t get every job you interview for: not every job is the right fit for you. But if you can truly be yourself during the interview, the conversation will be a success, you will make a meaningful connection with the interviewer, and the right jobs will find you.

So before you go into that interview, in addition to all the preparation techniques you already like, try adding one or more of these:

1. Celebrate your awesomeness: This one is easy to do. Just look at your resume. Look at all of the awesome things you have dedicated your time to, the incredible accomplishments you have fought for, the specific and measurable impact you have had in the world. Take a few moments to just review and reflect right before you go into that interview room. Appreciate the person you are: the person who would take those actions, pursue those goals, and achieve those outcomes. Aren’t you just so proud to be you?

2. Appreciate your personal growth: If you are honest with yourself, there are places in life where you have failed. Yes you have. So have we all. It is part of life. But failure exists for a reason. It is there for our growth. Ever notice how success doesn’t really challenge us to stretch ourselves or expand beyond the boundaries of who we already know ourselves to be? A failure represents a place where we grew in life. That’s why interviewers ask about failure in the first place – because everyone wants to work with a failure. People who fail are people who grow. So celebrate your failures too for the way they have improved the person you are and expanded what’s possible for you.

3. Learn to brag: As women, we aren’t always the best self-promoters. But once you admit to yourself how great you are, you will want to share that with others in a way that feels good to you – or in other words, doesn’t FEEL like bragging. The key to doing this is the world’s oldest art form: storytelling. You can share any accomplishment – no matter how extraordinary in a way that makes you seem humble if you tell a story! Stories work for failure too.

Please join us at this year’s Forte Forum event series to learn more about how to tell a great story during your MBA admissions interviews!

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