The days of exceptional nerds isolated in a dark room, playing Pokemon online while creating only what anti-social geniuses can, are over. How you would work with others in the company, and what you bring to the environment is now on the top of the hiring requirements. Team dynamics and group synergy have proven to be more valuable than individual talent when bringing a new employee into the company. Successful interviews are about more than the answers you give. Interviewers need to know that by hiring you, they will not cost the company valuable money and training time.
Companies spend thousands of dollars on prospective employees even before the first day of work. After hiring, there is still background checks, employment follow ups, reference checking, paperwork, and a few other expensive requirements that happen before the new employee takes their mugshot picture we refer to as an employment badge. Then comes the training. The break even point for hiring a new employee may well be over 6 months.
Additional skills should be practiced to portray your success with the company once hired. Show the interviewer that you are well worth the investment and potential risk the company will take by hiring you. Here are a few of the skills we often forget to practice, but can make an important difference:
- Speech tone and tempo.
- Fluctuation in voice while responding.
- Body Language.
- Hand Gestures.
- Reading our interviewers.
- Answer each prepared question ten different ways.
Speech tone and tempo
The speed at which we speak will give the interviewer an impression of our comfort with our answers. Talking too fast, rapidly changing answers, or too high of a pitch, can give the impression responses are being created on the spot. Practice delivering answers with a steady voice and confident tempo. Use the correct tones in your voice to emphasize confidence and knowledge of what you are talking about.
Fluctuation in voice while responding
How do professional public speakers keep you interested in what they are talking about? Watch your favorite talk show host, and pay attention to how they talk. How do they keep you interested? How do they fluctuate their voice, speed, tone, and volume depending on the content they are discussing? Practice give answers in a nice, comfortable, and easy way that borders on entertainment. If you can make the interviewer enjoy the process, they will be more inclined to pass you on to the next stage of the hiring process.
Watch yourself in a mirror, or use your webcam to record your body language while answering questions. You are the hardest critic, so judge, change, and adapt what you see. If the way you answer questions can keep your attention, your interviewers will more than likely respond the same. Remember, they ask the same questions over and over again to every potential new hire.
Practice your answers leaning forward, backwards, leaning slightly to the side, shifting back and forth. For the answers you are delivering, find the body language that will engage your interviewer, and stimulates a relaxed environment. Practice pulling the attention of everyone in the room to where you want it. Give them a new experience and leave a final impression of a likable person they would enjoy working with.
Hands tell a story. They can be used to assist, or detract from your answer. When watching yourself answer questions, are you hands helping you, or are they damaging your response. Use your hands to emphasize what is being said. Let them add to the story your mouth and body are telling.
Reading our interviewers
Prepared speeches are not what interviewers are looking for. Share a story, talk to them, help them see how you will make a valid contribution to the team. Watch closely and the people on the other side of the desk will tell you everything about what they are thinking, and how they feel. If they appear bored, change your strategy. When they ask a question, try to determine if they want the answer, or the process used to find the answer. Determine what they are looking for, and it might not be the answer to what they asked.
Answer each prepared question ten different ways
Practice each question from every possible angle. Start with overly technical, and move to less facts and more benefits. After-all, one of the strongest concepts in selling is, sell the benefit not the feature. By answering the same question ten different ways, you prepare for the type of answer the interviewer is really looking for. Adaptability is one of your biggest advantages in an interview, so practice in a way that allows you to adapt when needed.
Keep in mind
There are a lot of smart people in the world. Many of these people may be more qualified for the position if they worked in isolation. The current trend in hiring is focused on team dynamic and group productivity. Working in a team and synergy have proven a greater benefit to companies than individual skill. A team player can be trained, shifted where they are needed most, and have proven to last past the break even point longer than the anti-social genius. Team Morale and a great environment are what interviewers are really looking for. You may be a team player, but the interview is the place to show that. Practice portraying what interviewers are looking for, and new employment is an interview away!