I’ve spent years sharing advice about job interviews. My main advice is to walk into a job interview prepared to stand and deliver: Show the employer how you will do the work profitably so the employer will want to hire you.
But sometimes I forget that that’s the substance of a good interview. A good interview also has style and presence. What’s that? It’s how well you communicate. And how well you communicate is an indication of your conviction.
Employers are impressed with people who can and do speak with conviction. That’s who they hire.
Talk to a kid in grade school today, or to a high schooler or a college student or someone just starting out in the work world. You’ll experience one of two things. Either you will be amazed at how thoughtful some kids are and at how well they speak — you can hear their conviction. (You might cringe a bit, remembering how awkward a speaker you were at that age.) Or you’ll be shocked at the miasma of meaningless sounds emitted from their mouths — at the confusion they betray and at their lack of conviction.
In my opinion, our schools don’t do a very good job at teaching kids to write and speak. Some teachers pull it off and my hat is off to them. But I worry about how students coming out of college present themselves in job interviews. I worry how they present themselves when they try to develop the contacts they need to get in the door at the companies they want to work for.
Poet Taylor Mali makes the point better than I do — with conviction. Watch the video above.
You are judged by your presence and your conviction. What do your job interviews sound like? Which part of Taylor Mali’s poem do you sound like?
If you need help, I suggest these two books:
Talking Your Way to the Top, by Gretchen Hirsch.
How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less, by Milo Frank.
(Thanks to IT guru Bill Sterling for sending along the link to Taylor Mali’s poem!)