Thursday, April 28, 2016

Gauging the tone of an interview

Have you ever caught a car
you chased?
Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, says you need to accomplish several things in a job interview.

--Show you're capable

--Show you're respectful

--But also that they will enjoy working with you

This means finding a mix of professionalism and personality. Both. Being too formal can prevent the interviewer from getting a feel for you. Being too casual can seem out of step and make the  interviewer uncomfortable.

So...wait for your cue, Tarpey advises. See what tone the interviewer sets. Watch body language and word choice. Some employers have no interest in your personal life, others do. If you share personal details, keep it light.  If this door opens, show an interest in the interviewer. Nothing creepy.

Find common ground. I used to do this by asking what other jobs the interviewer had had. If they clam, move on. You can check them out ahead of time--but don't come off as too interested or stalky.

One employer said she remembered people with an offbeat hobby or interest--not just going to the gym. (I was on a web-based networking session yesterday put on by my alum assn--and everyone wanted to know about how I got from a tony subschool in international affairs to  developing cartoons--this stuck. I then sequed into their reasons for being in the session--were they looking for  job?).

But you must avoid sensitive topics--say politics. Also keep religion out of it.

I once hired someone who said she had been to lunch with Mick Jagger. Yes, that came up in the interview. My interviews tended to be wide-ranging... Maybe it was a dumb reason to hire someone, but she lasted many years and is still there--and I am long gone.

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