Hiring managers are humans too (Big surprise!). They are not there to ask you millions of tricky questions just to embarrass you, although sometimes I do feel embarrassed by the interviewer. The two questions hiring managers always ask themselves are : 1) Do you have a warm or cold personality? 2) Will you be competent at this job?
The chart above summarizes these two questions very well! Think about this when you are preparing for your next interview. Make sure every story you tell the hiring managers reflect your warmth and competence.
This is an idea is coming from this post. Highly recommended. https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-2-traits-all-hiring-managers-look-for-during-interviews-without-even-realizing-it
I also added a second thing: Go for the Extra Mile. The chart above is great but it may not be a surprise to many of you. The updated chart below is a choice you need to make. How far are you willing to go? My experience tells me that when I’m doing good enough, this is the time when I need to go a little further. When I think I went too far, that’s when I usually win. This not only applies to interviews, but to everything else.
The “blue star” on the chart represents the mediocre interviewees. They do all the things according to the book, use the right resume template, answer all the interview questions prepared. Their answers are appropriate, but nothing really exciting. The feedback the mediocre candidates get are usually “she/he is a nice,” and that’s it. The way you do one thing is the way to do everything. To go through an interview in mediocrity may very well suggest that you do your job in mediocrity, deal your personal relationship in mediocrity, and work out at a gym in mediocrity.
I encourage you to “go for the extra mile”. If greeting the interviewer nicely is a way to show my warmth, what is the next level? Maybe compliment him or her on office decoration (only when you truly believe it), maybe send a hand-written thank-you note? Or bring an extra resume? There is no right answer. Whatever the next level is, it must be coming from your heart.
However, you may think “next level” may be too much, or even weird. I invite you to think a little deeper about such reaction or interpretation. Does this serve you for this purpose? Your goal is to show your warmth. If bringing the interviewer a little gift is what you feel like, but sounds weird to you, I would still encourage you to do it. Why? Because it is who you are. Being authentic works in an interview. If you dismiss the thought because of fear of being judged, you stop being authentic and interviewer can usually spot that.
The same thing goes for showing competence. You can talk intelligently about anything. Going for an extra mile means that you have already printed out a report you made for this company. Show them what you can do. You get to be creative. As long as you ask yourself, what’s the next level beyond talking intelligently during interviews, the possibility is endless: bring your reference letters, provide ideas to improve for the company, send them a model you built for this company through email follow-up, etc.
There are always some risks if you want to go from the “blue star” to the “orange star”. You may be judged. However, in most cases, these risks are usually in your heads. Besides, how many successful people have been considered weirdos? Ask yourself, do you really want to be mediocre all the time? It is time to take a leap of faith and win at EVERYTHING.