We’re obsessed with selfies. Picture: Franck Fife/AFP
We’re obsessed with selfies. Picture: Franck Fife/AFP

The best career advice ‘no one takes’

NEXT time you're going for a job interview, a "selfie" could make all the difference.

That's according to HR expert Gary Burnison, chief executive of management consulting firm Korn Ferry and author of Lose the Resume, Land the Job.

He argues that if you're landing interviews but not getting any further, like most people you'll probably go back to polishing your resume when you should be doing "one thing that could really make a difference".

"The secret weapon is in your pocket or maybe in your hand: your smartphone," Mr Burnison wrote in a piece for Forbes.

"People over-estimate their strengths and underestimate their weaknesses all the time. They tell themselves they can 'wing it' and congratulate themselves for how well they think on their feet. Except, they can't.

"Only by video recording yourself (or having someone else do it) as you answer interview prep question can you see and hear how you come across."

Mr Burnison said while we may be obsessed with taking selfies, most people avoid looking at or listening to themselves on camera. "Just pushing 'record' and seeing that red light makes them highly self-conscious," he said.

"And that's the point. The nervousness of being video recorded is a good proxy for being 'on' in a job interview. When you play back the recording, you'll hear every 'um', 'you know' and 'like' that you say unconsciously.

"You'll also see your non-verbal communication: how you sit, your facial expression, how much you fidget, and so forth."

Mr Burnison advises candidates to video record themselves rehearsing basic interview questions such as describing their most recent position, career accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses and why they want to work at the organisation.

"When you play back the recording, listen to your answers," he said.

"How can you say it more concisely, bringing it down to a tight 30-second answer? You may not think so, but 30 seconds can come across as a long time.

"You need responses that are punchy, crisp, compelling, and to the point. One-word answers are a disaster, but so is a filibuster. Keep it conversational. You can always elaborate when the interviewer asks a follow-up question."

Importantly though, you should be rehearsing, not memorising. "You're not auditioning for Annie - there's no need to memorise your lines," Mr Burnison wrote.

"Memorised answers that sound canned and unnatural can't convey your authentic self. You need to rehearse - preferably with a coach or mentor who will give you the 'tough love' feedback that your friends, spouse, or other family members can't.

"If your mentor also knows your role and industry, that's an added plus."

 

frank.chung@news.com.au



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