Your interview is with a reputable organization and there are significant opportunities for advancement.
If you practice these 10 steps, however, you will look like every other candidate and reduce the chances of getting recruited to zero.
1. Have a skin-deep understanding of the organization. This is an effective way to communicate that they’re not all that important to you and that whatever their challenges are, your skills and experience will save their day. Make it about you not them.
2. Mention that they are only one of many organizations vying for your talents so it’s no big deal if they want you or not.
3. Stress your planning skills and the strategies you have developed in previous positions. If you have no practical experience creating strategic plans, promote the business courses you have taken as the primary tools of strategy success.
Point out that the strategy development process is, after all, an academic exercise. Wax on about the importance of spending as much time on the plan as needed to enhance the probability of success.
Never mention the importance of plan execution; it’s messy and definitely not a “sexy” thing to talk about.
4. Focus on the importance of being perfect; say that your education has taught you to be a perfectionist. Show that you will go to great ends and spend as much time as is necessary to seek perfect solutions to the challenges you are given. This will definitely display your immaturity and enhance your non-candidate status.
5. Be very general when answering the question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” It’s very important to be as vague as you can. You don’t want to be pinned down with anything specific as you could be pressed for specific achievements.
For strengths, use phrases like “strong interpersonal skills”, “a good team player” and “effective communicator”. For weaknesses, “I take on too much” or “I haven’t solved the work-life issue yet; I err on the side of working too much” are good responses.
6. Don’t ask the interviewer tough and penetrating questions. Lob gently to enable the interviewer to feel smart about his answers and superior to you. This is critical for not standing out.
You don’t want the interviewer to feel that you are interviewing him to determine if your interests are best served by their organization.
7. Wear standard boring business attire. It’s important to not display any imagination or willingness to be contrarian.
8. Play down your ambition. You will certainly be asked where you would like to be in five years. Don’t make it appear that you have bold aspirations to advance. Avoid being specific.
Possible answers to consider are “If I do a good job I would like to get a promotion at some point” or avoid the matter completely by answering “I don’t really know. I just want to make a solid contribution and trust that my efforts would be duly recognized.”
9. Never show you have a backbone. Run from pointed questions. Avoid sticking your chin out with anything that could be construed as controversial.
10. Be ready for the “Why should I hire you as opposed to one of the other applicants?” Your answer to this is critical if you don’t want to be viewed as remarkable and unique. The key is to actually ignore the intent of the question.
Talk about what you think are your strengths and ignore the fact that everyone else has them. Paint yourself into the crowd of people who generally have the skills and experience you have. You can’t be identifiable in the crowd.
Follow these steps and you will blend in with all other interviewees; step out and you will be noticed and just MAYBE get what you want.
Which do you choose?
Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President of TELUS and Current president and CEO of the consulting firm Brilliance for Business, with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.