Over the past few months, as I’ve been talking about changing jobs or starting a business, I’ve also talked about interviewing. It is a nerve wracking process, particularly for those of us that have been out of the field for a while.
We may find our skills in this department have gone rusty, and of course we want to prepare as much as we can for the ‘big day’ when we are sitting across the table from a group of strangers who, we feel, are drilling us and asking us to tell them what we are great at and, well, what we could improve upon.
I recently spoke with media coach Susan Harrow, and though the phone call was supposed to be about a different subject, we started talking about interviews. The insight she shared was priceless, and I felt I had at least one (and potentially a few others) more article left in me about interviewing.
Harrow, who once worked as a consultant for Pacific Bell Directory/Yellow Pages and who, during the course of her lifetime, has interviewed over 3,000 potential employees, gave an excellent tip for losing the fear (or at least reducing the fear) of a job interview.
Says Harrow, instead of looking it as though you are being interviewed for a part, go into an interview with the understanding that you are looking at each other – employer and possible employee – as equals.
The interviewer is evaluating you to see if you fit the company, but at the same time you should be looking to see if that interviewer and you will be a good match.
If you go into the interview understanding they are evaluating you AND you are evaluating them you’ll be on a much more level playing field – and you will also understand that a job interview is a good time to determine if this is a company you really want to work for.
So, how can you turn this interview into a mutual interview rather than one in which the employer really has the upper hand?
Harrow says to begin by thinking differently. “You are not being evaluated as though you are a failure if you miss the interview, but go in and see if it is a good fit for you both.” She adds, ” . . . switching your thinking in a way and creating a more positive attitude puts you on equal footing.”
This means understanding and preparing before you walk through those doors. I believe this is easier for someone who has been in the workforce for a long time than it may be when one is younger. Now, I think we are more prone to understand the job should be a good fit for us as well as for the company. Before, I believe I was so determined to get hired, get a job, that I overlooked the idea that I wanted to fit into the workplace and find one in which the company and I were compatible on multiple levels.Had I thought of this going into several interviews, things might be quite differently on my resume today!