Tell me a story, paint me a picture and sing me a song….. The best interviews are multi-coloured voyages of discovery through your past, present and future. They appeal to the basic emotions of your interviewer – not by machine-gunning them into submission with endless facts and analysis, but by playing to their emotions, involving them, leaving them hooked and wanting more.
Much research has been done into the left and right hemispheres of the brain and their impact on various aspects of life. While the right hemisphere is more intuitive and emotional, the left is more logical and sequential. Although of course, the majority of us use both hemispheres to varying levels in various situations, generally, when there is a pressure situation, most have a preference as to our default setting. However, when it comes to job hunting, left-brained people often have more difficulty than their right-brained counterparts.
Many left-brained people experience more difficulty talking about themselves, and studies have shown that an overwhelming majority of these people have just as much trouble thinking about themselves and their true impact on the world. In a scenario where you have 60 minutes to “sell yourself” to a potential employer, an inability to communicate where and how you “fit in” can be a serious issue. The better interviewers will tease the information from you, but you can save them the effort by adopting the right mind set. Tune into your creative side.
Making yourself stand out at interview is not only about your “features” but more about your “benefits”, and that is where the left/right brain candidates divide. The logical and practical “left-brainers” would assume that a long list of their programming languages (C++, Ruby, Python, etc) would suffice to create a great impression. They are not alone in possessing those competencies…. The “right-brainers” often take it a step further, quantifying how their previous employers had benefited from their skills, painting a far more complete picture. Tell your story to help the interviewer understand specifically about how you might be of use to them. Base it in your factual past, but move your tale seamlessly into their world – make it relevant to them, their organization and what you will be able to bring to the table.
As well as creativity, your right brain governs intuition, empathy and passion; three critical aspects of a successful interview. You have to use your “gut feel” to understand the non-verbal clues, to answer the questions which lie behind what has been asked, and react to those unexpected questions. You need to empathize with your interviewers, put yourself in their shoes, and understand the sort of answers that you would be looking for if you were them. Passion goes without saying. There is nothing more powerful than feeling the pure and basic desire of a candidate when they talk about why they want to work for you.
If you are predominantly a left hemisphere type – I would suggest giving your right hemisphere a workout in the days and weeks before you attend your interviews. Listen to music, meditate, tell jokes to your friends, tell stories to your kids, read some poetry, play an instrument, write down your thoughts in a diary….
….anything to tune into your inner storyteller.
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