Chief Executive Officer
This Week in Leadership (Nov 29 - Dec 5)
Questions—and answers—about the Omicron variant's impact on organizations. Plus, critical year-end moves to boost your career.
Now it’s go-time.
All of your hard work on the 90-Day Career Diet—knowing yourself, targeting opportunities, networking, revising your resume, and conquering the mental game of interview prep—is about to pay off. Sure, you need to bring your A game: Did your homework? Check. Polished appearance? Check. Arrived in plenty of time? Check.
But as much as you prepare, you’re going into the unknown.
Be the Perfect Guest
From the moment you arrive for the interview, you’re “on” and with everyone you meet from the parking lot attendant to the receptionist to interviewer. You’re friendly and smiling, respectful and hyper-aware (which may feel like an odd mix between going to a wedding and attending a funeral). You’re on “high alert” for those commonalities—a picture, a piece of art on the wall, sports or collegiate mementoes—anything that can help you break the ice with “getting to know you” small talk. If you’re in sync with the interviewer, the exchange of information will feel much more relaxed, like a conversation rather than an interrogation.
Some things, however, remain completely out of your control. Some hiring managers are very skilled interviewers; some do okay, and others are just downright awful. Some people stand by a standard Q&A script; others throw in oddball questions. Some do most of the talking. No matter who you wind up getting as an interviewer, you can still come out on top if you follow the playbook.
Your Homework: Your Playbook—Five Interviewer Types
Interviewers fall into five categories based on their style and approach. Knowing how to make the most of your interaction with them will go a long way towards success.
Your Stretch Assignment: Be Memorable
Take the extra step by standing out in ways that people might not expect. Pick up on perceptions (positive, not negative) or assumptions that people may have about you because of your profession or background. A perfect example is military leaders, who are known for being disciplined, loyal, and mission-oriented—all great traits valued by organizations. The “value add” would be for a military veteran to showcase these expected qualities plus discuss being a creative, out-of-the-box thinker. That would really stand out. Or a Harvard MBA might balance that very impressive credential with a show of genuine humility and a willingness to learn from everyone. Ask yourself: What would make you appear well-rounded and more memorable?
An interview is like going to a party where you don’t know anyone. You just never know who’s going to show up. So, be prepared, be aware and be flexible.
Step 6: The Face to Face
A version of this article appears on Forbes.com.