I was talking with a client last month about how things were going since the production of her video resume. She had previously been looking for a job for over 6 months, and only landed 2 interviews.
The good news is, she had 5 interviews (4 in person, 1 over the phone) in the last month. The bad news, the interviews didn’t seem to go well. She said they would ask her a few questions, and then seemed to lose interest and the interview was over. So I pitched her a few standard interview questions to gauge her responses and I think we found the problem.
I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until yesterday, when I was producing an interview style video resume for someone else. I had sent him the instructions for preparing, and called the day before the appointment to make sure he didn’t have any questions. When he showed up for the appointment, he hadn’t even selected his interview questions, thinking he could wing it. He checked off a few questions on the spot and said “Just ask me these. I can do this.”
Ok, the customer is always right, right? So I pitched him a few of the questions (off camera) to see how it went…
Have you ever answered an interview question, then later thought “ugh, I should have said…”. Or even worse, realized you should have said something different while answering the question, started back peddling and trying to correct the answer and end up rambling? Things can sometimes sound better in our heads then they do when they come out of our mouths! And sometimes, we don’t even realize how the things we say come across at all, especially when we’re nervous, under a microscope being interviewed by someone else.
Both clients seemed to have similar difficulties answering interview questions :
- Concisely including all pertinent information
- Coming across positive
Below are a few tips I tell my clients when filming an interview style video resume to avoid the “foot in mouth syndrome”. These also apply to telephone or live job interviews.
Never be negative. ALWAYS be respectful of others and do not place blame. State your answers in a positive form.
WRONG: I’m looking for a new job because there aren’t any opportunities available at my current company.
RIGHT: I’m looking into new opportunities that might be available in other companies and industries that can help me to grow professionally.
WRONG: There was an occasion when this customer was being irate and yelled at me.
RIGHT: There was an occasion when I helped a customer who was very upset because…
Never interrupt. Wait until the interviewer is finished asking the question. Take a moment to pause and consider the question before you start to answer. Then answer the question clearly and completely.
Tell the Story. Use the STAR method of answering interview questions. Describe the Situation or Task clearly, discuss the Actions you took, and talk about the positive Results that occurred due to your actions.
Do not ramble. Listen carefully to the question, and answer it concisely without unnecessary background information. Once the question has been answered, stop talking.
Do not back track, reiterate, or continue adding more information.