I met a...

The 1 thing to think about before you go on your interview

If you’re prepping for a job interview, think about this: What do you want people to remember when you leave the room? You’ll have many interactions with the employer–from your first email or phonecall to the day you’re face-to-face. What matters most is what stands out in the interviewer’s mind long after you’ve packed up your PDA and portfolio.

Here’s what I mean. Remember back in July when President Obama was asked about the incident with Professor Louis Gates Jr. and what it said to him about race relations in America? When he responded, most media reports focused on one part of one sentence–“that the Cambridge police acted stupidly.” He started off with, “I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don’t know all the facts…”–and he said much more. But all anyone heard were the words, “acted stupidly.” And that’s what everyone remembers. Unless your interviewer falls asleep, everything you say will be heard and may be used against you. Don’t give interviewers a reason to eliminate you. Grapple with two questions before you go public:

     1. What do I want them to walk away remembering about me?

       What do I want them to know and feel about me?

     2. How will I stay focused on information that’s “on message”?

     Stay away from words that pack emotion. Words and phrases like “stupid,” “that idiotic company,” “my boss, the biggest jerk in the world.”  That is unless you want to be remembered as “the guy who had it out for his boss.”

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