Interview the Interviewer

I recently experienced my first face-to-face interview at a small business in Seattle. No job offer came out of this interview, and that’s completely fine. In fact, it’s great because I learned a lot from the experience.

I went into the interview expecting to be asked the following types of questions:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What’s your greatest weakness?
  • How do you speak to an upset customer?

But I didn’t get asked any of these questions. Our interactions were short and, frankly, awkward. I was only asked a couple of simple questions, and I didn’t provide very long answers to the questions. On my end, I prepared and asked three questions that only furthered the already minimal amount of dialogue at hand. From this, I have realized that the energy level of others either feeds or saps one’s energy, enthusiasm, or authenticity. All of this remains true if I don’t work to fight against this tendency.

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect” —Oscar Wilde

The cliché saying: expect the unexpected, shouldn’t go overlooked. I went into the interview expecting to be grilled with questions when in reality I was asked very little. This threw me off. I was most concerned about being well qualified for the job when I should have been focused on showing the interviewer the curious, detailed-oriented person that I am. No matter how qualified a job candidate may be, what is most important for the interviewee is to give the interviewer a sense of his/her personality. The interviewer wants to know how the candidate adds or creates value, and if the candidate is likeable, agreeable, and the correct fit for the work environment.

My body language didn’t show a high level of interest

My body language was a little too stiff, a little too much on the reserved side of things. Way back in the spring of 2013, I was introduced to the power of body language by Dr. Bob Trumpy, professor at CWU. During a business communication course, Dr. Trumpy showed a TED Talk presented by Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and professor at Harvard.

In her immensely popular video, Amy shares research centered around this deceptively phrased idea: “fake it to become it”. This statement has nothing to do with being a fraud. The meaning is just the opposite in the sense that posture, hand placement, gestures, and overall disposition creates real, physical, chemical changes in the brain. These changes allow us to become better leaders, followers, team members, or whatever else one might call a righteous hard-working citizen of the world.

In all future interactions, I will keep dialogue moving in a meaningful direction—even if the interviewer’s energy is low—and I will not shy away from being my true self. My true self is the confident, inquisitive, always-musing self that will be revealed at my next job interview.

Keep on power posing, World Wide Web!