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Jury Duty and Job Search: The Unlikely Parallel

Last week I was juror on a criminal case. After two days of testimony, the 12 of us sat in a conference room and hammered through the evidence. And, I do mean hammered. There were times when we argued, shouted, and questioned each other’s motives as we individually interpreted each of the witnesses and the evidence presented. What it came down to was credibility. What factored into credibility of a witness? How they appeared. What they wore. How they did their hair. How much makeup they did or didn’t wear. How their eyes moved when they spoke. How much they hesitated before they answered. How much emotion leaked. What they said. The words were important but the credibility was filtered through a host of other factors that went well beyond what they said. How much of this is like the job search process? A lot.

Do we know how we come across during a job interview? Are we coming across as we intend? Do we know what people are thinking when we say a certain thing? Do we know how much of our emotions are leaking? Do we consider factor in how our eyes move when we are speaking? What about the length of time it takes to respond to a question? Do we come across as credible? Or, are we allowing something to leak that may be affect our credibility?

The job search process has changed dramatically over the years. However, what is the same is the interview. Hiring managers still want to meet you, in person (whether physically or through video-conferencing), before he or she offers you a position on his or her team. I’ve worked with hundreds of people to prepare for the age-old interview. I’ve written a book about it, “The Art of Finding the Job You Love: An Unconventional Guide to Work with Meaning.” Here are a few tips that speak directly to credibility:

Tip #1: What You Say - Write Your Stories Down

Most job seekers download a list of questions from the internet and say their answers. I recommend you write down your answers first. Ensure the answers are captivating (in story form) before you start to set it to memory. That means ensuring your answers are stories.

Tip #2: How You Say It - Record Yourself

Use a camcorder or online video conference app to record yourself answering questions. Pay particular attention to your non-verbals. Have someone else watch the recording. At what point do you start to sound insecure? What are you doing with your hands? Your eyes? Focus on the entire perception of what you say in combination with how you say it.

If you are wondering how you come across in an interview, schedule a job strategy session and ask for a video conversation. I’ll record it and give my impressions so you can review the recording and make modifications.

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