Thursday, October 29, 2015

Your Interview Brand

You got an interview. 

*Insert happy dance here*


Anxiety kicks in. 

It's natural to be nervous for an interview. If you weren't, I'm positive your arrogance won't get you the job. But how can you prepare yourself enough to not freak out about what's to come? 

If you don't have any experience in the field but they're giving you an interview, there's a reason. You won them over with something on your resume or your elevator speech that intrigued them enough to sit with you. 

They can see what you're capable of and the interview is to capture a picture of your potential, by analyzing your traits. So now the question is "How will you distinguish yourself?" 

Prepare by creating and mapping out your brand. Of all the candidates they are talking to, why will they choose you? 

There's an easy way to do this:

First, write out the 3-5 behaviors you demonstrate well. 

Then, list 5-10 skills you have to support your behaviors. 

Finally, select 3-5 examples that'll match to those behaviors and skill set. 

You want to come prepared with 3-5 examples because it is never a good idea to repeat the same story twice. If you told your story well enough, they will pick up on traits and link it back to a question they asked earlier or later in the discussion. Or if you are worried they didn't, you can add a one liner statement to link it back for them.

Another reminder is to not constrain your examples. For example, some people tend not to give community service examples as it may not link to an engineering role. But community outreach says a lot about your character.  

Finally, be genuine. We have a tendency to practice and prep for something that we lose our passion and voice in the process. My dear colleague, Vanessa, was chosen to present a recent campus accomplishment to the CEO. She was nervous and practiced and practiced and practiced. When it came to the big day, everyone sense her nerves as if they were crawling on them. Two mins into her talk, she paused, took a deep breath and said "I'm not reading my notes any longer."

As she started talking, it was instantaneous that the CEO felt her passion. He walked away praising her superiors on the culture and engagement the team members had on this site. Her genuineness surfaced and you want that during any first impression you're making. 

Your personality, character and traits are what surface during an interview. And you have an opportunity to paint your vision so they can see where you will take yourself in this role. It is okay not to know everything but being confident to jump in and know what you need to learn is half the battle. 

If you believe in yourself, they will believe in you. Confidence is the winning factor. 

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