The interview is your chance, perhaps your one chance, to communicate your message. It is critical that you craft and deliver a perfect message! To get another perspective on the subject of interviewing, I interviewed CNN veteran and media consultant, Bella Shaw. She shared terrific advice for our Careers Done Write Master the Interview series. Below are five key points to help you design your winning message.
Determining Your Message
Research the employer, job opportunity, and industry. Match your skills and accomplishments to the needs of the target employer. If the company is building a new green energy facility and you just completed such a project, that is would be an excellent point. Make five key points that you must get across. One of your five talking points should be why you want work for this particular company.
The Thirty-Second Sound Bite
Bella Shaw recommends that candidates compose a thirty-second sound bite. From her television journalism career Bella learned that thirty seconds is the ideal space of time get a key point across. It is alright to glance down at your talking points. Bella recommends that the candidate say, “This point is so important that I made a note of it.” Then continue to state your point. It shows that you are organized, interested, and focused. The opening statement calls attention to your point.
Preparing a Message On-the-Fly
Often an interviewer will tell you of a special project or major challenge. You have the expertise to meet that need. Congratulations! You’ve just been served a big softball and now it’s time to knock it out of the park. Be prepared to share a message on-the-fly about how you can fill a need based on an example of your past success. Mention it again briefly at the close of the interview, as well.
Recovering From a misstep
It happens to all of us. We meant to say one word and we say another. Have you ever heard a newscaster call President Obama, President Osama? Oops! When that happens, Bella advises that candidate turn it around by saying, “I am so excited about this opportunity that I said, “Hydrogen Chloride” and of course I meant to say, “Hydrogen Dioxide.” Then get back on your message.
Silence is an Eternity
Some say silence is golden. In an interview, twenty seconds of silence feels like an eternity. Most candidates feel that pressure and start babbling. Bella warns the more you talk off message, the more likely you are to get yourself into trouble. Instead, be patient. It’s not your job to fill the silence. The interviewer has the lead.
Refer to your résumé as inspiration when preparing and fine-tuning your message. Modify and customize your message for each interview. Own your message and practice it until it flows as easily as your name and phone number. When you get a chance to interview for the dream job, follow the above proven techniques.
If you don’t know the biggest challenge that the hiring manager is facing, ask!
While at CNN and other media outlets, Bella has interviewed hundreds of people during her career. Bella enjoys sharing her experience to help others succeed. She provides media training, coaching and consulting services. For more information, visit BellaShaw.com.