Have you admitted to watching the “The Bachelorette” on TV this season? If you have, you already know that this competitive reality dating show involves Canadian "bachelorette" Jillian Harris in her quest to find her soul mate. Cute, determined and spunky, she soldiers on each week weeding out a field of 25 potential male candidates through a succession of group and individual "dates" as she determines the winner - her potential suitor. “The Bachelorette” has it all: elation, heartbreak, betrayal, drama, and triumph. OK, it gets to be a bit heavy on the melodrama at times, but it also offers six notable tips for job interviewers:
1. POSITION YOURSELF
Whether vying for the love of a bachelorette or competing for your dream job, it’s imperative to distinguish yourself. Every successful competitor in “The Bachelorette” has found distinctive ways to separate himself from the pack and to become memorable. Sometimes though, the methods used, like exposing themselves, have gotten them the boot.
In a job interview, the same rule applies. You must distinguish yourself from your competitors from the outset. The best way is to be yourself. Be real and be “in the moment”. Play to your uniqueness. Being genuine, honest and open will help win you a call back.
2. BRAND YOURSELF
The winning contenders in “The Bachelorette” understand and communicate their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to the bachelorette. Each of the finalists has successfully identified the single most unique benefit or value that he has to offer her, and has communicated that benefit in many different ways throughout the TV show.
The man who wins the hand of the bachelorette has “sold” her on his USP. In this year’s show, that USP has dovetailed with Jillian’s goal to marry and start a family. Do you know your USP and how to communicate it to an interviewer? A good USP says, “Here’s what I can do for you” by highlighting that one major benefit that you can bring to this employer.
3. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
Wes, one of the finalists, seemed to have an inside track with Jillian during the early episodes of the show. But his perceived flaws became more glaring each week. The viewers witnessed him plug his singing career, band, new CD, and the popularity of his music in Mexico. Although the viewers knew that he was “all about himself”, it seemed to take Jillian awhile to catch on to his true agenda. Jillian finally rejected his self-involved attitude and she gave him the boot in Barcelona.
At the interview, remember, it’s about the employer, not you. Be able to answer the hiring manager’s question, “What’s in it for me?” Focus on the needs and problems of the employer, and you will discover a critical key to successfully winning the job.
4. DON’T GET OVERLY FAMILIAR
While it’s important to be yourself, there are limits. Contestant Tanner Pope, self confessed foot fetishist and prankster on this season’s “The Bachelorette”, stripped to his “manties”, as he called them, in front of Jillian and the other suitors. It didn’t go over well.
Same goes for the interview. When you walk into an interview, it's all business. Sure, you'll want to make that connection and be yourself as much as possible, but you're not there to be best buds with your interviewer. They may be chatty and informal at times, but this is not a signal to shift into "hang out" mode with your best pal. You're there to win the job and any informality on the interviewer's part will often be calculated to see how you respond. Don't take the bait! Stay focused.
5. TELL YOUR STORIES DURING THE INTERVIEW
Jillian has learned a lot about all of her suitors by asking questions, then listening and observing the suitors tell their stories. Some have been able to shine more than others because their stories are more poignant, honest and revealing. Through their stories we get a glimpse of their true values, intentions, successes and failures. These score big time on the show and can determine who stays and who goes.
You job interview is very similar. Here's why: a competency-based interviewer may spend about half of the interview focusing on your job skills, and about half on your behavioral competencies. They'll be looking for evidence of your behavior real situations in the past.
Having your stories ready in advance plays well to this type of interview. A company wants to determine whether you’re an asset or a liability. Will you either make money or save money for the company? The employer wants to know whether you’re a team player, and will you fit into the company culture.
Telling your stories will address all of these questions and more. You will be participating in the interview as an equal.
6. ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
Finding her “soul mate” requires a flow of questions and answers between Jillian and her suitors. This process requires open-ended questions and a patient listener. The same is true for the job interview process. The ability to both ask and answer questions in an open-ended fashion is necessary to win a job offer. Here are five potential questions you might want to ask your interviewer:
“What happened to the last person who held this job?”
“How has this job been performed in the past?”
“Why did you choose to work here?”
“What is the first problem that needs the attention of the person you hire?”
“What can you tell me about the individual to whom I would report?”
“What’s our next step?”
Even in this economy, you don't want to be desperate. You're there to vet the company as much as they examine you. These types of questions are great at getting information you need to make a decision about whether you really want to work there.
While a TV show like “The Bachelorette” may seem on the surface to be purely entertainment, scratch below that surface and you'll find several real world similarities with the job interviewing process. By looking closer at the process on the show, you'll see that the techniques employed by the winners closely match techniques of the successful job interviewer. Look closely enough and you'll probably also be able to predict the winner of this show.
As a recruiter, Joe Turner spent 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. The author of Job Search Secrets Unlocked and Paycheck 911, Joe also hosts his weekly Job Search Guy Radio Show on JobRadio.fm as well as other locations. You'll find free tips and advice on landing a job in this tough economy at: http://www.jobchangesecrets.com.
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