While We’re Talking

Sometimes a client comes back from an interview saying “It wasn’t really like an interview at all. We just talked. I was surprised how relaxed it was.” Has that happened to you? You’re ready to pull out your polished answers to the most common interview questions and they are never asked. You go in geared up for the tough questions and they never happen.

What does happen is more of a peer-to-peer discussion that ranges over a variety of topics, none perhaps in much depth. “What did you like about your last couple of jobs? What are you like on the job?” Or general comments from the interviewer – “Quite an industry we’re in. – Lots of interesting clients in this business.” Sometimes the questions verge on the personal “I’m a cottage person myself, how to you spend your free time?” The conversation tends to take on a friendly ‘it’s just us’ tone and before you know it the meeting wraps up with a “Great to meetcha” and you’re out the door.

It feels like they threw away the rule book because they liked you and just wanted to get to know you better. It can seem like the resume did the trick selling your qualifications, so this meeting must have been all about your fit with the team, right?

Conversational interviewing is an off road adventure in keeping that informal, friendly tone going to build camaraderie – and – being alert enough to weave in relevant facts, figures, hard skills and examples to advance your candidacy. This is not a softer style of interviewing where you can leave it up to the interviewer to gather the key information. It’s an ‘over to you’ approach where you need to pick up the ball and run with it.

As casual as this style may seem, you are still in competition for the job. Know your marketing points before the interview and be sure you’ve covered them before you leave – using that same easy conversational style as your interviewer. Rapport and relevancy, that’s the approach to take in a conversational interview.

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2 Comments

  1. Bill MacKenzie

     /  April 4, 2012

    Well stated Lynne, and yes I have also had clients express similar feedback to me following an interview which they had experienced. I advsie to always “put you best foot forward”, be ready and prepared to share information about yourself in a strategic and professional way. Be conversational of course, but “don’t let your guard down”.

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