Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Radiance at the Interview

Radiance at the Interview

Your hard work has paid off and you've accomplished something which occurs far less than you expected when beginning this transition journey - you landed an interview.  The big question now "Am I ready to shine and be my best self?" Unfortunately there are many people who spend so much time searching, networking and chasing leads that they spend little if any time along the way preparing for what all that work is designed to do which is to be a stand out in front of the interviewer(s). 

In order to have the best chance to succeed, here are some preparation strategies I have discovered in my journey.  

Physical preparation
Develop a routine that builds into each day time for fresh air and exercise. You have got to keep those endorphins exercised so they work for you in providing the energy necessary when you need it most.  It's no different than preparing for a marathon. You need to establish a plan of attack, a smart strategy that will enable you to be in the best shape possible.  It is actually not too complicated a task, but many people fail to make this a part of their daily routine.  Join a gym, walk a mile, ride a bike, get outside, rake some leaves, smell the flowers.  Do it everyday and your body will be in the best shape to work with you not against you the day of the interview. 
Mental preparation
Eat plenty of brain food everyday - veggies, fruit, foods with natural color are usually the best. Arrive at the interview prepared with lots of stories about past events and circumstances in which you had to assess a given Situation, identify Tasks to accomplish, create a plan of Action and monitor the Results.  This is called the STAR methodology and my friend Ron Petineo tells me he has used it successfully on many occasions. Your goal is to be as ready as possible so that your mind is focused, your answers clear and concise (or pithy and profound as one of my grad school professors insisted) and your questions stimulating and thoughtful.
Spiritual preparation
Last Fall my wife and I replaced our wood deck with a new stone patio complete with a path that led to a small pond I had installed many years ago. We named it our soul space and determined it would become a place for private reflection and for gathering of our close friends for spiritual enrichment.  Little did I know how handy it would be for me during my transition.  This sacred space has become a place where I go to begin, end or take a short break during the day.  It provides me with a time to reflect, vision, create and pray.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop conducted by Steve Snyder http://www.stevensnyderseminars.com/PDFs/MindMattersPart4.pdf. In coaching executives, Steve urged them to make time each day to go to a sacred space. It can be a physical space like my patio or in many instances it can be a special space in your mind where you can go to at anytime no matter where you are. Steve said he routinely drinks a lot of water and every time he takes a gulp he closes his eyes and mentally goes to his special place.  Tying in his daily routine of consuming water with mentally escaping if only for a few seconds at a time enables him to reflect, rejuvenate and be spiritually renewed many times throughout the day.  

I encourage you to find that special space and go to it on a regular basis.  It could be a fond memory of your favorite vacation spot, a childhood place that has special meaning or some other place that will enable you to escape for a short while. You will be amazed at the results.

Emotional preparation  
You want to make a positive emotional connection to those who you meet in an interview.  Whole the steps outlined above will certainly help, but there's a bit more to it than that.  Your job is to learn as much as you can about the culture and values of the organization you are pursuing. This could potentially be the most important step in your preparation.  

If your values and those of the company are not in sync, most likely the job will become tedious and stressful. It is critical that you come into the interview fully prepared with your own set of questions the answers to which will help you to determine how you will be treated in the actual workplace. What does the company and the people it hires value as most important and how is that exhibited in the day to day work life? What do others say about their personal experience with the organization? Are the written values of the organization congruent with your observations of the people you have met in the interview process? These and other questions like them are critical to ask so that you can determine authenticity and alignment with your own values.  

In the coming weeks I am hopeful to participate in several interviews of jobs I have been pursuing. My goal is to put into practice all that I am suggesting above and report back the results I have encountered. Stay tuned.... and wish me some luck!

For additional tips and strategies to be in the best shape possible for the interviewing process check out Conor Cuneen's humorous yet insightful book SHEIFGAB the World - 8 Building Blocks to Better Teamwork, Productivity and Collaboration - http://irishmanspeaks.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=323&Itemid=68

Next blog entry
Results and Next Steps 

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