The Audition

Young woman signing contracts and handshake with a manager

There is a tidal wave today of people moving from job to job. Unless you win the lottery or can tolerate the vagaries of being in a startup, you’ll have to face someone across the table or virtual screen for a job interview. It’s not unlike actors auditioning for a role, so here are tips from the actors’ playbook.

Sense memory: Welcome the opportunity and the excitement it brings. To manage your nerves, recall an event where you were successful. In a quiet place, remember how it felt, smelled, tasted, sounded and looked like. Carry that feeling with you into the interview.

Intention: Decide what you want to accomplish. Maybe you want to see if the fit is right, get a second meeting, or prove that your services are critical to the organization’s success. Just before the interview, focus on your intention. It will keep you on track.

Knowledge is power: Do a background study on the interviewer and the firm. Reach out to colleagues for insights. Include how you can bolster the firm’s success. It takes you out of the “please hire me” mode and into a position of strength.

Talking Points: Have no more than three differentiators or skills that you will bring to the job. Then develop examples (see below) for when you exhibited these traits.

Case Studies: Use our client anecdote/storytelling template to relate how you solved a problem for your former employer, or when you were in school. Obstacle: Be precise about the challenge, what was at stake and the time pressure. Solution: What three tangible things did you do? and Benefit: how were you successful and was there an unexpected benefit? Length: 1-2 minutes

Rehearse: Prep a list of expected and tough questions you might face. Have a colleague play the role of interviewer. Each time, answer slightly differently to stay fresh.

Talk yourself up: before facing audiences, actors tell themselves “Send me in, coach. They will love this show.” Or Deborah’s favorite: “They need what I have to deliver.” Repeat while exercising, stretching and breathing.

Then stand out from the crowd and have firms compete for you!

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