What Romney and Obama Can Teach Us About Interviewing


As we gear up for the VP debate tonight, we should pause for a moment and reflect (along with everyone else!) on how Romney and Obama did in their debate.  But not from a "who won?" perspective, but more from a "would I hire this guy if he was sitting in my office and I was interviewing him to do some strategy or potentially work as a receptionist?"

They each did good and bad things in terms of how they showed up to the biggest interview of their lives...did you catch it all?

Interview Technique 1: Show up ready to wow!

When sitting in an interview, you want to see someone who WANTS THE JOB. The person who gets excited when they think about working for you, or for your company.  You feel that they geniunely want to be there, that they are interested in the work, and that they have a lot of energy and ideas.  Passion and interest matter, and if you show up not engaged, or not geniune, the interviewer will pick up on that.

Overall, Romney had more energy and seemed to be fully present.  Obama seemed tired (granted, he is running the country as well as running for election), and if you turned the sound off and just watched energy and body language, it seemed like Romney was the guy who wanted to be there more.  However, in his closing remarks Obama brought the geniune.  He took off the professor hat and spoke about the fight that he takes seriously, and in that moment he won me back in terms of energy. But that was 90 minutes in.  You've got to walk into the room WITH the energy, not find it at the end.

When I was hiring candidates for my company, someone who seemed lackluster in terms of their excitement was not someone I wanted in the job.  So, make sure that even if you are UNsure about where you are, you do bring every bit of energy and enthusiasm that you can muster.  It won't hurt, and can only help!

Interview Technique 2: Be Articulate

Ok, both candidates  talked a LOT. They answered questions, but they did not always articulate an answer you can understand.  Romney seemed a little crisper in terms of his sentence structure and speech candence...Obama stuttered and stumbled a bit more.  No one is perfect, but the problem with that as a speech pattern is that you seem unprepared.  Spend some time thinking through your job history and common interview questions, and then when you do get hit with a doozy, pause before you speak, and try and not use verbal garbage ("umm" "uhh" "you know" etc).  I'm not accusing either candidate of that, but just saying that we all do it, but you don't want to do it so much that your interviewer loses sight of YOU and focuses instead on your speech mistakes. (You know what I mean, when all you do is listen for the stutter? We've all been to that meeting!)


Interview Technique 3: Answer the D*mn Question Already!

Have you ever been asked a question and started speaking immediately - not really thinking through the question, your answer, or what is coming out of your mouth? As you know, that is a bad bad thing.  Nothing irks an interviewer more to ask: "What would you do in this specific scenario?" and get a response as long as Moby Dick that somehow manages to NOT answer anything about that specific scenario.  It shows you can't focus and you weren't really listening.  Also, that you are long-winded. None of these things are good! So, take a moment to really take a breath, and think through what you are going to say.  Instead of "Well, in this scenario I guess I would blah blah blah fishing blah" how about "In this specific scenario I would do two things immediately and they are: ... by doing these things I would solve the problem presented in this scenario."  You get my point...

So, will Biden and Ryan listen to my amazing wisdom? We'll see shortly! And if you are thinking about firing your job and interviewing somewhere else - sign up for my free class on Tuesday!

Wishing the best for you and your career -