Okay so you are a straight shooter. You possess integrity, directness, honesty and a certain charm that well, to know you is to love you right? What if everyone got paid for what they really thought? Do you think anyone would ever get paid? Being direct in an interview may be an admirable trait but when do you know you’ve gone too far? Learning the difference between, “telling it like it is” and honest feedback will make or break your chances at a real job offer.
It’s nice to let people know how you feel and it’s even a better feeling when they ask you for your opinion. You may think it’s your time to impress and tell them all the things that may make you look like the superstar you really are. But stop, wait, pause and reflect. Ask yourself, “What am I gaining out of being direct?” Being clear on your motives at providing honest feedback essentially offers you a way in or out of a job.
Following a few simple steps the next time you are asked for your sage advice during an interview may get you the job offer you want, or a quick way out the back door.
- “To Thine Own self be True”: What is your motive when providing direct feedback? Do you have something important to share or do you just want to hear how magnificent you sound? Knowing your internal motives will help you edit what comes out of your mouth before you say something you can’t take back. Just because they ask you for your unsolicited opinion does not mean you have to spill forth everything on your mind. Knowing what you want out the meeting is as important as knowing how much or how little you are willing to share.
- Knowing When to Shut Up: It’s one thing to be asked a specific question by the interviewer, “So how do you think the company is doing in the creative area?” and it’s another to volunteer your opinion before a question is even asked. Knowing how to edit your responses and listen before you speak will help you save face when you may have said too much. Remember less is more.
- “I know but….” Making sure you are always heard and inserting your point of view whether you agree or disagree with someone on an interview will not help you make friends or even get a job offer. Even though the interviewer may say they want to know what you think, that does not mean you have to tell them what you think. Tailoring your responses in the form of a question instead of a diatribe will help you find out information you may have missed along the way and could potentially avoid a disaster in responding in a way that is off putting or worse, perceived as aggressive.
- Playing the Politics: Even though you may be a shoe in for the job, knowing how and when to play your hand is crucial up until and even after a job offer is made. Anything can go wrong. Knowing who the players are, understanding the cultural dynamics and really doing your homework before your interview will help you avoid the pitfalls of putting your foot in your mouth and assuming something about the individual or company that is incorrect.
- Making Love Not War: Knowing how to read the room and positioning any feedback you have about the position, the company or the job in way that makes you a concerned citizen as opposed to a revolutionary war lord, will help you make a good impression. Cultivating the ability to step back and take notice on the situational dynamics of an interview may gain you insights about the people and company you never noticed before. Court the players like you would a love interest and remember you are looking for a job not world domination.
Taking a look at how you come across in an interview from another’s point of view is being insightful and self-aware-traits that are needed under any circumstance. Being honest about your feelings in an interview may be admirable but knowing how to communicate your point of view without being offensive, aggressive or bossy will be key in whether you a call back or even a job offer.
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