Well, this may come as a surprise but my advice actually is: don’t handle a job interview like a man. Just approach it as yourself!
First and foremost, men and women generally have different communication styles and approaches, and to be anything other than your unique self in an interview may only lead to problems later on.
As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken."
For those of you who are in the process of interviewing for a new job or promotion, we are already faced with the well-known statistic that women only put themselves forward for a position if they feel they are a 100% match. But for our male counterparts, they are happy to assume a 60% match is sufficient.
For many, there is a perception that in the "corporate" world, having an assertive, confident and even an aggressive style is something that most employers want. That may be the case for some positions, but the most important thing I have looked for in the hundreds of candidates I have interviewed over the years is how that individual would fit into an existing team and what skills they as individuals can bring to my organization.
Using the view that we must be an exact fit for a role, however, surely means we are best positioned to anticipate all the questions or scenarios that may be presented to us in the interview. Use that to your advantage in being able to talk confidently about how YOU handled things, how YOU contributed in making a difference, and what results or outcomes YOU achieved. Also, never forgetting those all-important questions YOU have for the interviewer in regards to the role or the organization.
But wait, there is no "i" in team...?
Forgive me for this gender generalization, but for the most part, we women rarely ever like to talk about our own accomplishments. We are often far more comfortable talking about what "we" as a team or group achieved rather than what ‘I’ as an individual accomplished.
Well, listen up ladies — don’t be afraid to talk about your own achievements. They're something your interviewers want to hear about. Just remember, the mere fact that you have an interview indicates there was something in your resume or reputation that the interviewer wants to find out more about.
While men are often seen as naturally being able to voice — or, on occasion, inflate — their own achievements, women can equally be seen as downplaying them in an interview. Depending on the position or role you are interviewing for, that can set off a potential flag to a hiring manager as a lack of confidence by the candidate.
Remember, those first impressions count!
We all know that those first few minutes count when we meet the interviewer, whether it's in person or over a call, and that they will set the tone for how the rest of the interview may play out.
Body language therefore speaks volumes, and in some cases can be more visible than the actual words we are uttering. So with that in mind, make sure your introduction to the interviewer is appropriately confident and self assured.
Our male colleagues are often accused of being accomplished in "claiming the space" of a room, and I am not necessarily talking "man spreading" here. So, similarly, just embrace your inner Amy Cuddy and handle that interview with your own unique "power pose," as we know how important body language is in displaying confidence to not just others, but also to our own worst critic — ourselves!
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