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PSST! Secrets to Success at Your Next Job Interview

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At your next job interview, you want to connect with your interviewer, right? So … here’s a valuable tip to succeed.

Listen for the conversational cues of the person you are meeting with and adapt your style accordingly.
An acronym to remember what to look – and listen – for is P.S.S.T.: Pace, Subject, Speech & Tone.

Pace refers to the tempo of the conversation. Say you have the habit of speaking quickly, but – if you’re meeting with someone who pauses between sentences – you’ll want to slow down to mimic that pace. The opposite is also true. If your natural speaking style is more like the “Southern drawl” – but you’re talking with someone who jumps around from idea-to-idea – you’ll want to pick up your pace, (at least a little!), even though this might not be so comfortable for you.

Which Subjects are important to the person you’re meeting with? If, for instance, you’re talking about a trade show presentation that you made in a previous job, does your interviewer ask about the research behind the presentation? The marketing angle? The artistic details of your hands-on exhibit? Or maybe how hard it was for you to travel to the trade show? Try to deal with those first, before discussing any other ideas you want to bring up. (Extra Tip: Don’t complain about how hard the travel was, even if it was hard. Companies don’t like to hire complainers.)

Speech means language, i.e., the type of language being used. Is your interviewer using complex words? Or, does she have a more down-to-earth style? If you’re in a frum environment, is he using yeshivish phrases, or perhaps avoiding them? Whatever your interviewer chooses – you’re best off copying it.
If she’s focused on the numerical details of her company’s future, please discuss that – bring up instances where you succeeded at other jobs, and you have the numbers to prove it.
Language also refers to “body language.” If she is quite formal, keep in step with that. On the other hand, if her conversation is more relaxed, you are welcome to be a little more at ease – but not too at ease … remember, this is a job interview!

Tone somewhat overlaps with language. Are you meeting with someone who is serious? Does he or she tell jokes? You may tell a joke or two – just make sure they are of the same type as the one you were told. And, of course, never at the expense of anyone! But, let’s say you’re saying to yourself “I’m not the best joke-teller”, you can still show your sense of humor by laughing easily – as his/her audience.

The tone of the office environment can also clue you in to the other person’s mindset. Are there family pictures on the wall? Or, maybe children’s drawings? Which books are on the shelf? Are they business-minded? Light-hearted? Or, serious science volumes? Does the office setting communicate “efficiency” or “personal comfort”? These are all indications of the company’s, and the person’s, priorities. When you pick up on those cues, and mirror them back, you are bound to have a more successful meeting.

One last thought – notice if you’re conversing with someone who is more focused on details. Or maybe, he or she likes to discuss the big picture … I think you get the picture!
Wishing you Hatzlacha at your next appointment, Sara Brejt

Sara Brejt, Esq., CPC helps job seekers in our community become more employable and get better jobs. You can reach her at Sara@SaraBrejt.com or 973-936-9006.


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