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A Super-Charged Interview Performance

I speak to a LOT of people and, when I question them about their interview skills, they are most often very self-assured. They tell me with a hint of condescension, “oh, Michael I know what to do thank you very much”. Then, when it comes time to interview – they choke. Most often people sit before hiring managers and they dutifully answer questions and, when prompted, they obediently recite the lines from their resume almost word-for-word, which the hiring managers already have in front of them. They possess no real negotiation skills, much less closing skills, so they are completely at the mercy of the interviewer. But according to them, they know what they are doing. What they fail to do, is to place themselves on a relatively equal (professional) footing with the person they’re meeting. They fail to engage in a business conversation and, instead, allow themselves to be interrogated so that what follows can hardly be called an interview.

Developing and possessing good interview skills, going beyond describing what you do and have done, citing examples anecdotally sets you apart from most others, who only show up intending to answer questions. Having the ability to influence the interview, in order to present yourself in the most optimal manner possible, is what you should be and could be doing. Consciously employing open and close-ended questions to get the info you need and following up with a pre-close or closing question will set you worlds apart from others seeking the same job. In actuality, most people are content with crossing their fingers and hoping to get through the event without looking or feeling foolish. This is not goal-oriented nor a winning strategy, but that’s what most people do.

I can tell you from 25 years of experience that someone who is a good interviewer, able to multi-task in the manner I described above – even if they lack in one area or another, will outshine another person who might be slightly more qualified but sits like a bump on a log, responding only when prompted.

Interpersonal communication and soft-skills of a growing number of people are woefully inadequate. A few years ago I wrote a handbook that is a step-by-step guide, instructing job seekers and interviewers everything they don’t know. I removed it from Amazon, while I updated and added to it even more horsepower. The newer 2nd edition is complete and it will be available again within the next couple of weeks on If you think you know everything — great, then you don’t need any help and good luck. But if you want to know what I know after a quarter century of work as a close-in, hands-on headhunter, who advises both hiring managers and job seekers at all levels- you’d be wise to give it a look. I’ll announce very soon when it is again available.