This morning I was delighted to receive a personal thank you from a very excited coachee, Louise*, who has just secured her “dream job”.
Louise attended a one-to-one coaching/mentoring session with me last month and felt the session was absolutely instrumental in helping her secure this exciting new role.
As the trainer and coach for Tiger Recruitment I regularly meet with individuals for one-to-one coaching and mentoring sessions. I believe just 60-90 minutes of face-to-face quality coaching/mentoring can be the “difference that makes the difference” to an individual – as Louise’s story will demonstrate.
Louise contacted me via email to say she was ‘struggling’ with the interview part of securing a new job. To ensure our face-to-face time could be as productive as possible, I arranged a pre-session phone call with Louise so I could understand more about her and what she personally needed and wanted to get out of our session.
Louise emailed her CV to me. She had pulled it into the preferred and recommended Tiger format with an impactful personal statement that she tailored to each role she applied for. Louise’s impressive CV was getting her “through the door” and into interviews. But from here, Louise got stuck. She wasn’t creating the right impact at interview and, disappointingly to her, she hadn’t been called back for any second interviews. Louise knew something had to change if she was ever going to secure a new dream role hence contacting Tiger.
At our one-to-one session I shared the stats and percentages related to the importance of creating an impact when involved in face-to-face communication, namely 7% words, 38% tone and 55% body language.
This was new information to Louise who, like so many of my other PA clients, was surprised at the high percentage related to body language and the low percentage related to the words. I explained to Louise that many people misconstrue these stats – they are about the importance of face-to-face communication and as such are best used to ensure any message you deliver aligns all three elements. By “speaking the meaning as well as the words” and ensuring there is a congruence and alignment of all three elements you will ensure an authentic and impactful message.
Also, I shared with Louise that 90% of someone’s opinion of you will be made in the first 90 seconds of meeting. So, think about how you dress, how you walk into the interview room and how you shake the interviewer’s hand. If 55% of impactful communication is down to body language, what are you communicating to your interviewer?
During the interview process, use the communication stats to listen more effectively – you can “notice what you notice” in the interview setting and then mirror and match the words, tone and body language of your interviewer as this is the very quickest way of creating and maintain rapport.
Match the interviewer’s pace of speaking (perhaps it is faster or slower than your own natural pace). Notice how your interviewer is sitting and match some of their body language.
Listen to the words your interviewer is using and repeat back some of the key words. For example if your interviewer asks you, “What has been the most challenging thing you’ve done in your current role?”, you would start off your response with, “The most challenging thing I’ve done in my current role is…”. And of course you would share what you did to overcome this challenge and what you learned from this situation moving forward to ensure this is a “positive”.
Be as prepared as you can with likely questions that will be asked. Read through the job specification and highlight the expectations/ask of you in this new role. Match each expectation/ask with evidence and justification of when you have achieved these in your current or previous roles. I shared a “Role Expectation Matrix” template with Louise that she found incredibly useful when prepping her CV, application and subsequent interview for the role she has now secured.
If there are expectations/asks for things you feel you aren’t able to do, ask yourself, “What is possible?”. Louise had attended an interview where a good level of conversational French was preferred. Whilst Louise spoke her native English and had a degree in Spanish she only had “school-level French”. Her response at interview when asked, “How proficient are you at conversational French?” was “It’s only school-level French”. A better response could have been, “Whilst my current proficiency is what I would call “school-level French”, I do have a natural ability to pick up languages. I have a degree in Spanish and speak it fluently and I would absolutely be up for attending French conversational classes if that is something you could invest in”.
Louise shared that, as soon as she arrived in the interview room she forgot all the great questions she had prepped. If this is something you also struggle with, write out your questions in a notebook or on your phone or tablet. Remember, every interview is a two-way process. In effect you are interviewing the interviewer and the company to ensure this is right for you.
At the very beginning of the interview set your own expectations for how this is going to go. Use influential language and a leading question per the below and, most often than not, this will result in you getting the reply you want and need: “I’m sure you understand that I want to do my very best at this interview so I’ve brought a list of important questions to ask you – that’s alright isn’t it?”. Louise left our 60 minute session armed with useful information and a renewed energy and enthusiasm for her next interview which she knew was taking place the following week. And a month later, here we are. Louise has secured her dream role which both her and I are delighted about.
*name has been changed to maintain confidentiality