NAIL THE INTERVIEW

Working on a tablet

To nail the interview, you need to sell yourself. The time has come for you to become a master seller.  This is what you need to know:
 

Rule 1: Opposites do not Attract

You need to build rapport with your interviewer and you do not have much time to do it.  People like other people who are like themselves or how they would like to be. You discover commonalities by building rapport or connecting with people.  

 

Asking questions is not enough.  For example, you approach a young person carrying a duffel bag. You ask him what he has in the bag. He replies that he has three assault rifles. You ask him what he is going to do with them. He replies that he is going to walk into a public library and open fire. Have you built a rapport with this nut case? No, even though you have asked some very good questions.

 

To make a connection, you need to mirror that person both verbally and non-verbally. Verbally, you need to mirror the speed, tone, vocabulary, and volume of your counterpart.

 

Assume the interviewer is low energy, speaks in a slow deliberative monotone and his gestures are slower than a Brazilian three-toed sloth.  If you are high energy, outgoing, charismatic, and expressive person, you would have difficulty connecting with him. You would need to lower your tone, your volume and restrain your hand gestures. You would also be well advised to use the same words that he uses.

 

In this way, you will quickly build rapport and put yourself in a better position to nail the interview. You would also be well advised to mirror his nonverbal communication. The majority of communication is nonverbal. We have already looked at hand gestures, but you also need to look at his body language. If he has his arms folded, he is on the defensive. Approaching him with open arms and moving in his direction would make him feel threatened and unresponsive to your negotiation tactics. If you also fold your arms and show you are no threat, it will put him at ease. You should also mirror his seating position. If he is sitting back with his legs folded, do the same. If he uncrosses his legs, do the same.  Mimicking his, posture will lead him to the conclusion that there are commonalities between the two of you and will help to build rapport.

 

Exercise before the Interview:
Go to a coffee shop and find someone that is sitting a couple of meters away. As unobtrusively as possible, start to mirror the gestures and mannerisms of that person and notice what happens in 5 to 10 minutes. You will get in sync with each other.



Rule 2: Become a Storyteller

 

In 2009, a New York Times journalist Rob Walker embarked on an experiment to see if storytelling was a powerful commercial tool. He wanted to do a controlled experiment where the success could be measured in monetary terms. He called it his Significant Objects Test (www.significantobjects.com). He bought two hundred objects on eBay each object costing approximately $1. He then sent an email to 200 writers and asked if they wanted to participate in the test where they would write a story about each object.

 

One object was a snow globe that had the state of Utah on the base. The snow globe cost 99 cents. Blake Butler wrote a story about a box that his grandfather's grandfather kept under his bed…you will need to read the rest.  The snow globe was sold for $59.  

 

A total of $129 was spent on the 200 objects.  The total proceeds raised from the sale of these objects were $8,000.  The total return on investment was 6,101 percent.

 

Storytelling releases dopamine.  This is the same chemical released into the brain when you fall in love. Most men can testify how after watching a James Bond movie, you want to go out and buy an Omega watch and Saville row tailored suite. This makes absolutely no sense.  

 

We all know that Bond is the ultimate escapism. We know that a fancy watch and a tailored suit is not going to lure a Russian goddess into your car, but dopamine and suspense make us do crazy things. Hell, I moved to Mexico for a woman. I arrived in Mexico with no job, no Spanish, and not a clue about what I was doing.  

 

When you first meet a potential employee, there are three things they ask themselves:

1) Who are you?

2) What do you have?

3) Why do I care?

 

Storytelling is a powerful way to raise that dopamine and build trust and confidence as you answer these three questions.  Use this opportunity to tell your story.  The key ingredients of a good story are the following: be clear, be authentic (bullshit does not fly), have a clear outcome, be consistent, and make it relevant. Telling a story about how you stapled your small toe to a barstool during a drinking game may not be relevant or appropriate.

Rule 3: Enthusiasm is Your Secret Weapons

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in addition to having a fantastic first name, was a genius. He wrote: "Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

 

Who doesn't love being around enthusiastic and energetic people? You tap into their energy. You want to be around them and you want to do business with them.  You can feel enthusiasm by the way a person talks, walks or shakes hands.  The greatest thing about enthusiasm is that you don’t need to be borne with it. Some people are naturally enthusiastic, but if not, it is a trait you can grow and cultivate. Charles M. Schwab, the steel magnate (no relation of Charles R Schwab who started the stock brokerage house that bears his name) was asked to justify his million-dollar salary and whether it was based on his ability to produce steel. He echoed the great words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, saying "I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among the men the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement."

Rule 4: Stand Up Straight


Jordan Peterson says that all living things have dominance hierarchies, and it is your position in this hierarchy that will determine your access to resources such as territory, ownership and mating opportunities.  He also observes that the top 1% have as much as the bottom 50 percent which is borne out in the Credit Suisse survey mentioned in our homepage. It is your position in this hierarchy that affects your brain chemistry and on a key characteristic of the dominant being is posture and standing up straight. Animals exert their dominance by making themselves larger as a sign of strength.

 

Jack Schwager, in his book "Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders" takes a detour and interviews Dr. Ari Kiev who was a psychiatrist to traders who had worked with notable names such as the legendary Steven A Cohen, the founder of the now-defunct hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors.   Dr. Kiev mentions in the interview that he can see when a trader is losing money simply by looking at his body language. If a trader was hunched over his desk it typically meant that he was losing. If he was propped upright or standing and walking around, it was an indication that he was winning. The key takeaway is that in the same way that posture is a reflection of performance, performance can also be a reflection of posture. 

Rule 5: Be Bold and Take Risks

 

You need to roll the dice.  If you play it safe, your offering will blend into the market and go unnoticed.