Matt Crevin, Founder of Voice of the Box says there are four zones, or development stages, in the evolution of a career search. Here they are, along with his advice for how to progress through each.
Zone 1: The focus is on yourself – because you’re terrified! You’re worried about how you look in an interview, whether you’re dressed OK, and whether the interviewer likes you. “If you’re in Zone 1, there’s no shame in that,” Crevin says. “You’re in there trying to overcome your fears, so good for you!” Matt’s tip: Think about normal conversations you have every day and how you handle typical questions in an informal setting. If you relax, don’t over think anything and be yourself, the results will follow. Maybe even practice basic mock interviews so you’re in the most comfortable situation possible as you enter the live interview.
Zone 2: The focus is on your content. You’re self-confident about how you look and your ability to answer questions, and you know that content is king, (offering solid answers to interview questions) so you’re simply going to tell the hiring manager what you think (opposed to what you think they want to hear). In Zone 2, the job candidate knows his or her material and delivers it through carefully constructed talking points, usually while seated across from the manager. There’s no effort to engage the manager or to tell them how and why you can bring value to their company. Matt’s tip:Give real examples of the value you bring, be authentic and conversational, not overly rehearsed. Don’t try to provide just the “perfect” answer but speak from your gut on how and why you would make a difference to the company if you were in the role. In normal conversation, we communicate through our movements, facial expressions, even eye contact. This body language will also enhance your interviews, so work on adding it to your delivery. It will also help communicate your desire to share something of value – people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
Zone 3: The focus is on providing something of value. The job candidate is fully confident and knows his or her interview strategy as well as the companies true needs inside out. He or she frames it as something the manager could find beneficial and around solving some the current needs (additional sales, experienced customer service, project management, etc) “People will often leave a Zone 3 stage saying, ‘I really enjoyed meeting you, thank you for your time” Crevin says. “But they don’t leave the hiring manager with the inspiration or knowledge that they are the right candidate that can be a problem solver.” Matt’s tip: Engage the hiring manager by asking questions about what they hope to leave the interview with. Do they want to learn just about your background? How about leave them with how your background, experience, skill sets and personality can mesh nicely with their existing team and that you are ready to deliver results. By understanding the companies’ goals, you can create a conversation during your interview that helps them achieve what they really are looking for.
Zone 4: The focus is on developing rapport with the hiring manager and internal contacts. Most candidates know that they must do something in the first 90 to 120 seconds to engage the interviewer. Asking open-ended questions is one tool; telling the brief story of how you were drawn to the current opening is another. You can quickly scan the office you are in to find a topic to use as an icebreaker. (I see you like to fish, I’m curious, what’s been your favorite location to fish?) Observe the manager and look for signals on how far to take this light approach to banter. Most important in my mind is leaving with the knowledge of what the interviewer is looking for in a successful hire. (Simply ask in the process what he/she is looking for and at the end of the interview rephrase it and position that towards your background and skill set with what you now know will most satisfy them. “People in Zone 4 have arrived, usually through practice and having had interviews before,” Crevin says. “They know the do’s and don’ts. They will keep the interview as real and conversational as possible. They understand the managers true needs and do the best possible job of mapping the companies’ needs to their core skill set and practical experiences. Lastly, the candidate will take a multi-dimensional approach to addressing how their background is a fit, the value they bring that will ultimately resolve the true needs of why they are hiring in the first place. Anyone can tell a hiring manager about their background, previous results, awards, (the Who they are, what they do, etc)…few can tell a manager, in a compelling way, why they are a good fit for the role and why they are good at what they do.
A career search process, like anything else, is a “progression of expertise,” Crevin says. So no matter which zone you fall into, with practice and help from a career coach with experience, you can improve.
For more: contact Matt Crevin at firstname.lastname@example.org