Break the ice

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - You, You, You -

The walk to your in­ter­viewer’s of­fice can feel end­less. Rol­lag sug­gests get­ting the other per­son to talk about him­self. “Think about topics that give peo­ple en­ergy,” he says. If it’s close to the hol­i­days or va­ca­tion sea­son, ask your in­ter­viewer if he’s had time to travel, and if so, where? And don’t get too hung up on awk­ward pauses. There’s a nat­u­ral ebb and flow to ev­ery convo.

bring the en­ergy

Your in­ter­viewer may be grumpy, dis­tracted by mat­ters un­re­lated to you, or could even be haz­ing you to see how you re­act. Keep your en­ergy high, and forge ahead. “If you get the sense that an in­ter­view is go­ing poorly, ask a ques­tion to show that you’re cu­ri­ous,” Sherbin says. “That will also give you time to re­cal­i­brate your re­sponses.”

sell your ex­pe­ri­ences

It’s the catch-22 of en­try-level job in­ter­views: How are you sup­posed to talk up your ex­pe­ri­ence when you don’t have any yet? If you haven’t worked much, Sherbin says, dis­cuss the lead­er­ship skills that you have de­vel­oped from other places, whether in your com­mu­nity, school, soror­ity— even a part-time job in a dif­fer­ent in­dus­try. “Con­vey pro­fes­sion­al­ism and good judg­ment through the in­ter­view process and they might con­sider re­defin­ing their idea of ex­pe­ri­ence,” she says.

al­ways be ad­just­ing

Watch the other per­son’s re­ac­tions closely for clues to how well an in­ter­view is go­ing, so that you can ad­just. Does your in­ter­viewer seem to check out when you give a long re­ply? Shorten your next an­swer. Do you sense skep­ti­cism or sur­prise? Ac­knowl­edge it openly. If you think you might have missed the mark, it’s okay to ask, “Did I an­swer your ques­tion fully?” says Sherbin. “That shows you have emo­tional in­tel­li­gence—you can rec­og­nize and ad­dress the needs of oth­ers, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial clients.”

re­mem­ber Who’s boss

Bub­bling over with big ideas? Great! Just try not to diss your po­ten­tial em­ployer. “Some­times when peo­ple feel con­fi­dent, they think that they are be­ing proac­tive by mak­ing un­wanted sug­ges­tions,” says em­ploy­ment at­tor­ney Lori B. Ras­sas, au­thor of The Per­pet­ual Pay­check. In­stead of bull­doz­ing your in­ter­viewer with “fixes” that may seem pre­sump­tu­ous, Ras­sas sug­gests for­mu­lat­ing a “30-6090 plan”: what you a sk ing smart Que s t ions i s g re at ! b ut o Ffer ing u nsol ic i t ed “Feed­back ” i s r isk y. would do in one, two, and three months on the job, af­ter you learn more about the cul­ture and the chal­lenges.

yes, ask some Ques­tions

The mo­ment when an in­ter­viewer asks, “Do you have ques­tions?” is the best chance you’ll have to lead the con­ver­sa­tion. “Some peo­ple think they’re be­ing an­noy­ing by ask­ing a ques­tion, or they want to take their wins and leave be­fore they say some­thing wrong at the last minute,” says Ghosn. “That’s a mis­take.” A few Qs that al­ways work: “What would a typ­i­cal day be like?” “What would it look like to knock this job out of the park?” “What chal­lenges would some­one with this job need to over­come?” Show your in­ter­viewer that you have thought se­ri­ously about the role and en­vi­sioned your­self in it.

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