Interview Tips Part 2: Getting Started

How to Get the Conversation Rolling

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

Here are my first two tips for you so let’s get started!
1. Build Rapport
We recruit people we can imagine working with, having a chat with by the water cooler, exchanging jokes with, telling about our weekends to. When I had two candidates with equal capabilities to choose from or even if I had two candidates and one of them was a little less experienced but I could spot chemistry, then I would offer that person the job. 

You all know how crucial first impressions are so a firm hand shake, good eye contact and a friendly and open smile are very important. There are other aspects as well but those are crucial. 

Now, let me ask you: when you feel nervous, do your hands get clammy? If so, when you get to your interview, wash your hands in warm water and then wipe them well. For a few minutes after that, your hands will be dry and just warm.

    2. The ‘WIFE’ mindset.
Here, ‘WIFE’ is an acronym for ‘What’s in It For the Employer.”
Many people are advised to have 2-3 core messages ready for their interview, for example about their top strengths. While I don’t necessarily disagree, the risk is that these individuals then try desperately to mention what they’ve prepared. This attitude risks making you appear overly preoccupied with selling yourself, as opposed to wanting to find out about the job’s requirements and about the firm. Nobody likes a hard sale. So don’t pitch.
Let the interviewer pick the direction in which he/she wants to steer the interview and let them ask the questions and make sure your you give corresponding answers: don’t try to slot in your messages under the radar – you will be spotted I assure you. Listen, really listen for the problems which the hiring manager is trying to fix with this recruitment and engage him/her in a discussion on how your profile makes you best suited to help with the solution.
If you really want to steer, do so by using questions such as: ‘What is the skill gap/resource gap you are interested in closing with this recruitment?’ or ‘What are the key things you’d like to learn about my background?’ or ‘What business imperatives are driving the need for this position?’ Then you can rebound by sharing what is called an “experience story”.
I will tell you what an “experience story” in my next post in a few days. Watch this space!
I hope these two tips are helpful to you. As always, I would be delighted to hear from you so email me directly at or leave me comment!


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  1. robert serec says:

    Great job Alexandra, clear and concise. Thank you very much for continuous sharing of your experiences and this way offering a guidance towards acing on interviews.
    Your mentioning chemistry is in my mind and experience very important, not only that by letting the energy flowing, circulating back and forth between the participants of the interview, we start “liking” each other, but can even successfully lead us to overcome some differences or close gaps, if they exist. Additionally, I would encourage a small breathing exercise before the interview (short walk or so). When one focuses on breathing and visualize energy flowing with every breath; it helps us getting relaxed and brings some extra oxygen into brains and that works wonders. And sometimes during the meetings, especially tough ones: negotiation, job interview,etc I find crucially important not to “forget” breathing (everybody breathes but do we do it consciously?) , because breathing help us get rid of the stress, any contraction ,etc, and this way we can eliminate this, sometimes really inconvenient problem and thus look more relaxed and gaining more focus.

    • Alexandra says:

      Robert, many thanks for sharing your technique about the breathing exercise. I agree it’s a very useful way of calming one’s nerves ahead of an interview, a meeting or a presentation.

  2. Alexandra, I find your video tips very helpful, and extremely well expressed. You make the hiring process, which is so often obscure to those seeking positions, feel more human and more easily understood. Thanks!

    • Alexandra says:

      John, I am delighted that these tips are of help in opening the black box of interview preparations! Thanks for watching! Alexandra

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