For Greater Interview Success, Hit the Scan Button on Your Inner Radio

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NotesI recently uncovered an effective recruiting application for a tool I’ve been using for years to coach clients through challenges and daunting circumstances of all types. It’s a tool that helps people call upon and leverage valuable inner resources that lie dormant, vastly underutilized like muscles that haven’t been flexed in years. It’s premised on a radio analogy: people are like radios, in that we all have the ability to tune into an endless number of stations — or pieces of ourselves — such as our strengths, traits, attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Just as most of us literally have a favorite radio station or two, we figuratively tune into a few characteristic personality and behavioral “stations” — either subconsciously or consciously — in order to remain within our comfort zones.

But interview situations typically lie outside of our comfort zones. So in this age of satellite and internet radio, applicants may benefit from hitting the proverbial scan button on the inner radio to identify some different channels that could increase the odds of successful candidacy. When a situation calls for it, mentally press the button for a specific station that can instantly trigger the inner resource(s) required. For example: 

  • Need to conjure up some extra confidence? Perhaps, mentally tune into a Don Draper station; that Mad Men character can sell ice to Eskimos.
  • Want to be calmer in this notoriously stressful situation? Try a Dali Lama channel. Or maybe the Dos Equis man resonates more for you.
  • Struggling to describe an illustrative mission-critical business decision you made? Perhaps a Steve Jobs or Sheryl Sandberg station could put you in the right frame of mind. If not, think about it from the perspective of any leader you admire and then tune in loud and clear.
  • Feeling like an underdog? Channel your inner Jerry McGuire to stoke confidence and connect with values and aspects of the potential role that energize you.
  • Distracted? Create a station that reminds you of how present in every single moment you felt during the blissful weekend you once spent in the Grand Canyon without cell service.
  • Getting too verbose? How about a Twitter station?
  • Overdue for an infusion of your clever sense of humor into the conversation? Seek out the wavelength of Jimmy Kimmel, Melissa McCarthy, Jerry Seinfeld, or any personal favorite comedian.

These are your tools, so make them as personally relevant and meaningful to you as possible. The suggestions above are just that: suggestions. Here are some questions to assist in thinking through your own lineup:

  • In what areas do you typically struggle in interviews?
  • What are some areas in which you typically shine and thus want to reinforce or strengthen further?
  • What feedback have you received from recruiters in the past that you want to address going forward?
  • What would you like to do differently in future interviews?
  • What are some areas of your experience or expertise you want to specifically showcase?

The answers to such questions will help inform what radio stations would be most supportive to you.

Taking the music theme a step further, consider being playful by choosing a private theme song that can help drive further achievement. There is an entire genre of music used by sports teams to pump themselves up before games. Think songs like Tag Team’s “Whoomp There It Is” on the gridiron, Shakira’s “Waka” for soccer, or House of Pain’s “Jump Around” at hoops games. Earlier this year, basketball star LeBron James announced on Instagram, “My new theme song on gameday! #OGBobbyJohnson” (by Atlanta rapper Que). If a world class athlete like LeBron thinks a theme song is valuable to boost performance when it really counts, corporate athletes playing the recruiting game may also want to consider it.

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Shani Magosky is an executive coach and talent management consultant who has worked in numerous industries, for venerable institutions and unknown startups, in a range of economic environments, from bubble to recession, and in revenue-producing, advisory, and senior managerial roles. Previously, she worked at Goldman Sachs, at a local TV station in Vail, Colo., and as chief operating officer/chief financial officer of an all-virtual international marketing company. Her firm, Vitesse Consulting, helps companies accelerate development of leaders, engage employees, and improve performance. She can be reached at [email protected] or (970) 376-1860.