The Interview & The Pitch

Preparing for an interview is exactly the same as preparing for a pitch, however most people think of an interview with a different frame of reference or context. Most people know that during an interview you need to be friendly, informed, clear about your background and what you going to bring to the company that’s interviewing you. It’s about presenting yourself in the most authentic way that takes care of you and the interviewers at the same time.

Just like a presentation, you must know your material and be ready to answer questions using the best attributes of your expression, while being yourself.

So many people chuck their interview chances away: they don’t take enough care and interview preparation time so that the whole process is enjoyable, stimulating and informative for both parties. The same can be said about preparing for a pitch.

There is one difference, you have an audience of one or possibly three people, and they can influence you life profoundly, by granting you the job you want. You have to earn the right for that opportunity. It is not a given that you will get the job by just showing up.

Research & Prepare for Your Interview/Presentation

Treat the interview as a job. Research the company website, read their background, do a ‘Google’ search and read the information and look at how and why this job is a great fit for you. Mention that you have researched the company and why you are a good fit for the job – this demonstrates to the interviewer that you have done your homework and implies you care (if you don’t care, don’t go to the interview). Focus your presentation on the relevant parts of your education and work experience that qualify you for this job.

Preparing For Interview Questions

Prepare for the interview by talking it through with a good friend who knows when you are being yourself. Have them role-play being the interviewer, asking the typical questions (see list below) in a friendly and yet authoritarian manner. Answer the questions just as you would in the interview. Wear the same clothes, this is a rehearsal for success.

Typical interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What have you been doing lately?
  • What made you apply for this job?
  • Why should we pick you?

They will ask at least one of the following questions:

  • What attracted you to xxx?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Why do you want to work for xxx?
  • What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do you see yourself in xx year’s time?
  • How do you like to work?
  • What can you bring to xxx?
  • Why should we employ you?
  • What do you do outside work?

Feel Under Pressure?

The interviewer wants you to be successful, for that shortens their hiring process and contributes to their company. What they want is your best and authentic self to show up. Having said that, first impressions are incredibly important. People do make up their minds quickly, so be yourself right from the start. Be yourself and relax. When you are being yourself, internal pressure subsides, as you then are not ‘acting’ just for the interview. This is not to say you bring the oh-so-relaxed sweat pants, or behavior associated with them into the interview. It is expected that you bring your best behavior and show your desire for the job, just don’t go overboard. If you fit the job and they fit with you, everyone wins. Be yourself and relax.

Relaxation Technique

You can use this technique while you are waiting for the interview to start. It is useful to use this when you are preparing for the interview. This is a simple and powerful technique.

It consists of taking three slow breaths to slow things down. Count silently and slowly to three when you breathe in (through your nose and push your stomach out rather than your chest. This allows you to breathe with your diaphragm and to get a deeper breath.

Breathe out on a slow count of six – through your mouth.

The rhythm goes like this:

Breathe in … Breathe out …… Breathe in … Breathe out ……

Repeat until you feel relaxed.

Be sure that you pace your breath so that you have some breath left by the time you get to six. If you feel light-headed, then just slow it down a bit. Practice this each time you are aware of ‘stress’ and eventually it will kick in automatically when you notice a stressful situation. This simple technique can slow and even stop the anxiety response.

Presentation Follow Up

At the end of your presentation, if you haven’t been advised, ask when they think they’ll be making their decision. At least then you’ll know how long you’ll have to wait before you hear.

Many places don’t automatically let people know if they haven’t got the job; so one interview follow-up call is allowable. More than that, and it can feel like badgering. No matter how badly you think the interview went, if you want the job, always send a follow-up letter. Since most of us think of clever things to say after the fact, include one or two of those, referring to something specific from the interview.

Use phrases such as:

  • ‘I’ve given a lot of thought to our interview and…’
  • ‘Something you mentioned got me thinking…’
  • ‘What you said about _______ really struck home…’

If you don’t get the job and you’re curious why not, phone up and get some feedback. It may help you for the next interview.
Good luck presenting yourself,

Geoffrey