How taking the initiative during a job interview can change the dynamic
A power move – often thought of by those with low self-confidence as being “bold” – is a quick, impulsive, and assertive action to establish control. Imagine what it would be like to have some control over your next job interview.
Power moves can be risky, but they can also be very effective.
Candidates with a presence and high confidence level, sometimes seeming cocky, get my full attention. In this regard, you might want to try the following power moves during your job interview:
- Start the interview.
Almost every job interview I have conducted begins the same way: The candidate walks in, waits for me to tell them to take a seat, and then looks at me nervously, waiting for me to begin the interview.
To gain an advantage, when I am the candidate, I start the job interview rather than wait for my interviewer(s) to do so. Starting the interview gives me time to get comfortable with the room and my interviewer(s).
Upon meeting my interviewer(s), following the usual handshake and “Nice to meet you, [interviewer’s first name],” I will ask about an observation I made. “While waiting in the reception area, I studied the scale model of the shopping mall Bluth is building in Hamilton. Do you know the retailers that will be the anchor stores?” or “I saw on the receptionist’s desk the Crying Monkey Award that Network 23 won in April. Who here would you say was instrumental in obtaining the award?”
Often, I gather some intel before an interview and use that information to begin the interview. “Yesterday, I called your toll-free number to see how your agents handle calls. The agent who answered the phone, Amy, was great, but I was on hold for over three minutes. What is the current average wait time?”
Although it may only be for a few minutes, you put yourself in the driver’s seat when you start the job interview, giving yourself time to acclimatize.
Ways you can start an interview:
- Ask about an observation you made while waiting in the reception area or doing your pre-interview homework.
- Solicit your interviewer’s opinion on an industry or company-related story in the news.
- Verify something you have heard. (“I heard MeTV is creating a game show geared to viewers over 55. Why over 55?”)
- Mention someone you both share a connection with.
Pointing out commonalities (e.g., went to the same school, born in the same city, fan of the same hockey team) is a subtle power move. A more impactful power move is to mention someone with whom you and your interviewer share a connection.
An ideal mentioning of a connection:
“I was talking to Bob Herald last Saturday at a dinner party my brother was having. You worked with him at Parrish Communications. As you probably know, he now heads operations at DaVille Studio, where my brother is VP of distribution. Bob says ‘Hello.’”
You may have heard of the theory of six degrees of separation, which seems hard to believe in a world of 6.6 billion people. According to the theory, we are all linked by chains of acquaintance, just six introductions away from anyone on the planet. Hence, the next time you have a job interview, try linking yourself as closely as possible to your interviewer.
You establish a connection with someone when you say, “You and I both know …”.
The power of pausing cannot be overstated.
When smoking and drinking were common in the workplace, you had props to stop, pause, and think. Unless you have a cup of coffee or a bottle of water you can take a sip from, pausing feels awkward. Learn to pause comfortably.
Pausing for at least 15 seconds sets up what you will say next. Doing so heightens tension in your narrative and gets your interviewer involved.
- Ask for the job.
Asking – the first step to getting – for the job is one of the most straightforward power moves you can make during the job interview.
Assuming you really want the job, say, “I know this is the company I want to work for. Is there anything that prevents you from making me an offer today?”
Worst case scenario, your interviewer will say they have other candidates to interview and will contact you shortly.
- End the interview.
The ultimate power move is to end the job interview before your interviewer(s) does.
Instead of waiting until your interviewer wraps things up or is glancing at their watch, stand up and say, as you extend your right hand, “Thank you for your time, which I do not want to take up any more of. I enjoyed our conversation. I look forward to hearing from you.”
This power move sends the message you want to send to every interviewer – that you believe in yourself and have options. Why should your interviewer believe in you if you do not believe in yourself?
Uncomfortable truth: In most cases, you did not get the job because your interviewer(s) did not believe in you.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.
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