Recently, a friend of mine was talking with a bunch of new college grads. She’s a small business owner, a marketing and communications consultant, who works with multiple clients. When she explained her job to the graduates – who were nervous but excited about entering their professional careers – one of them said, “So you basically have an interview every day?!”
She hadn’t really thought of it that way. She’s comfortable with herself and her skills, so she just thinks of it as having a conversation with someone who needs her help – creating win-wins. But those are really interviews!
Indeed, as we work toward the goals we have planned, we need to think of everyone we encounter as an interview. Everyone is a prospect, after all! The old saying, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want” can apply to any situation: Don’t talk to people about what you already have – talk to them about what you want!
There are two ways we are constantly being interviewed: Ability and Reputation.
What we do and how we conduct ourselves are constantly on display, whether we like it or not. Our interactions with others – directly or when we are observed from a distance – speak volumes. These actions form the perceptions others have of us.
Our abilities are also constantly on display – including how passionately we go about those duties. My pest control guy loves his job and it shows. That’s not a job most people are passionate about! But his friendly attitude, skills and knowledge – even during the ickiest jobs – shine through. Without a formal interview, guess who I’m going to recommend when someone mentions they need to call an exterminator?
Wherever you are, people are measuring you. Unfortunately, even on our worst day. So how do you keep your mind in a ready state for the every day interview? Here are five self-interview questions to get you prepared for those everyday interviews:
- Focus on opportunities versus problems. Look for what is possible in the situation, not the roadblocks.
- Ask yourself, what is working here and how can I help support it.
- What can I learn here? Everyone likes learners – people who seek first to understand before casting judgment.
- How can I help the organization, the person, the company? What skills do you bring to the table – including transferable skills.
- What do I need to do to be successful with them? Look for the win-win in situations.
So, whether you’re in swimming along in the new gig economy, an established corporate leader, a teenager planning your career, or a retiree diving into volunteerism, keeping those questions in mind will land you the gig every time!