Who Are You When You Interview? (Part 2)

As stated in Part 1 every individual is different, however I noticed that when it came to those that failed to survive my interview, they fit in the same 5 categories.

We talked about The Chatterbox in Part 1 and how we’re going to move on to Category #2: The Church Mouse. Have you ever heard the saying “quiet as a church mouse?” Well, that’s where this comes from. The Chatterbox and the Church Mouse are polar opposites yet equally as destructive in the interview.

Who fits into the Church Mouse category?

Those who fit into the Church Mouse category seem almost non-existent in the interview. They are so nervous and anxious about having to interview, they clam up and don’t say anything! They literally just sit there and nod their head for most of the interview. They may, at certain points in the interview, offer up an “uh-huh,” “I see,” or “I understand,” but rarely do they offer much more than that. It’s as if they’re so concerned with saying the wrong thing or messing up, they say nothing at all. They’d rather keep silent than offer something and have it be rejected.

What’s wrong with being in this category?

What those in the Church Mouse category fail to do is effectively sell themselves. They’re so busy trying to avoid making a mistake, they don’t realize they’re making the biggest mistake of all! They’re on an interview, NOT talking and missing every opportunity to give the interviewer a reason to hire them. An interview is more than just a review of your skills and experience. Remember, this is also an evaluation for “fit.” They want to know that you’re going to mesh well with the team. They want to see your personality. I’m not suggesting that you immediately begin to share personal stories, tell a dirty joke or swing from the light fixture however I am suggesting that you show them that you’re alive. Relax your shoulders, smile, lean forward and OPEN YOUR MOUTH!!

What is the interviewer thinking?

Typically, the interviewer tends to become exhausted with this type of candidate. Take it from me, it’s like pulling teeth. During the interview, they’re trying to get information out of you that will help them make that very important hiring decision. If you have nothing to say, it tells the interviewer that despite an impressive resume, you have little or nothing to offer. Being able to properly and confidently articulate what you’ve done and who you are is so important in an interview. Clamming up and failing to offer anything makes the interviewer think that they may have made a mistake by inviting you in to interview. They may become disappointed with you and opt to go in a different direction which you definitely do not want.

Am I in this category?

If while reading this, you’ve thought back and realized that you don’t talk much during your interviews and haven’t received any offers, you could be a Church Mouse candidate. If you find the interview process to be intimidating and just want to hold your head down and get it over with, this may be you. Your silence is telling your interviewers that you either don’t care or are unable to back-up the information displayed on your resume. Either way, you’re not leaving the best impression. Thankfully for you this can be turned around.

How do I turn this around?

You turn this around by remembering that your resume only got you this far and you will have to take it the rest of the way by opening your mouth and effectively selling yourself.

Speak up in the right ways. Allow the interviewer to see your personality as well as your professionalism. Allow your enthusiasm to peek through and show them how excited you are about the opportunity. Show them that you have a pulse!

It may be helpful to work with a coach to plan your responses out so you’re less intimidated by the interview process. You don’t have to be afraid of the interview or the person you’re meeting with. You shouldn’t be. This person may be your manager or colleague. Relax. Be confident and show them why you deserve to get that offer! Remember that you have the skills and experience necessary or you wouldn’t be there so don’t let your nerves get the better of you.

Coming Up: Category #3: The BFF ….

Best of luck in your interviews!


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