All politicians on the world’s stage have coaches, all sorts of coaches, PR & Media coaches, elocution coaches, image and body language coaches. You name it, they have it and they work on it night and day, often so much we can feel how contrived their presentation is. One of the things I find fascinating and consistent with all politician interviews, is their focus on delivering 1 – 3 key messages, regardless of what questions are asked. They learn how to manage the interview and get their point across regardless, the better ones weave it in and out seamlessly. This is something I use with my 1-1 interview coaching clients.
1. Your story
Many people approach interviews and CV’s with a factual chronological approach. I say don’t. A CV is your marketing brochure, it’s an edit of what you’ve done that best fits the next role you want. An interview is an extension of that. Learn to craft your story to fit your desired role, company and interviewer. This is simply an ‘editing’ task. Not all information is relevant, and some much more than the rest, so be selective and push what sells you to where you want to be.
2. Key messages
What are the key messages you want to communicate to your interviewers? Get crystal clear and focus on max 3 points. If you need to write them down and learn them off, do so.
3. Act like a Politician (just for your interview)
Be so clear on what your objectives are from the interview and the messages you want to communicate, that no matter what is asked of you, you will get those points across well and weave them consistently through your answers.
4. The magic number 3
A very easy and quick way to structure points on your feet or beforehand, is to always use the rule of 3. If one point is a stand-out point, go more into detail on that one and less on the other two.
5. Macro, micro
Many interviewers ask open questions to test your ability to think on your feet and see how your mind works. If it’s something like ‘Why Commercial Law?’ – start with the global level and then talk about the day to day, so for instance ‘Through my work experience I noticed that law’s role is very much at the forefront of industry and business, whether that’s helping companies go into emerging markets or set a precedent as a result of new technology. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from using my academic and commercial skills in translating the law into a practical business solution that will have a tangible commercial impact.’
6. Deal with any ambiguity head-on
Anything in your past that is relevant and you know will be asked, confront. If you have a gap in your CV or you have changed industry, find the angle that’s best for this role and practise speaking about it, until you’re so comfortable it’s second nature. This is the most common interview mistake that can ruin an otherwise excellent interview. Tie it up in a neat package, so that the interviewer is satisfied and can move on with 100% assurance.
7. Be selective
Your interviewer will thank you for it. Knowing what to push out and pull back is the real genius in a great interviewee. Whether that’s how much detail you go into in an answer, or your own career or academic history. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the questions you ask your interviewers as a further opportunity to showcase why you’re a great fit for the role and the signs to watch out for around company, culture and role fit.