Word Of the Week #562: Practice

May 13, 2015 by  

Practice: doing something repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill.

Have you ever played on a sports team? How well did you do? Did your team win any championships or titles? How much time was devoted to practice?

This week’s WOW is the second part on interviewing from Laszlo Bocks book “Work Rules.” He writes, “Most of what we think is “interviewing” is actually the pursuit of confirmation bias. Most interviews are a waste of time because 99.4 percent of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first ten seconds.

The fact that most of us don’t know how to interview well is a huge opportunity. Because that weakness lets you control the encounter. It lets you win. Here’s Bock’s other three tips:

Prove yourself. Every question should be answered with a story that proves you can do what you’re being asked about. “How do you lead?” should be answered with “I’m a collaborative/decisive/whatever leader. Let me tell you about the time I ….” Always tell a story or have facts to prove you are what you say you are.

a pracRead the room. All that brainpower you’re not using to desperately come up with answers to questions? Look around. Focus on the interviewer. In the first 10 seconds, is there anything in their office, or about them, you can notice and use to forge a connection? A book on a shelf? A family photo? A painting? Read the interviewer: is their body language open or closed? Are they tired and should you try to pep them up? Do they like your answer or should you veer in another direction?

Make it to Carnegie Hall. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Same goes for getting a job. When I was in my second year of business school, I practiced my interview answers — out loud — until I could tell each story smoothly, without thinking about it (but not so smoothly that I was bored with the re-telling). My roommate walked in one day to find me sitting on the futon reciting why I thought I was a great leader again and again. He figured I was stuck in some kind of self-help loop. But I got 7 job offers from 5 companies (that’s another story) and was on track to get another 6 before I stopped interviewing. How is that possible? Practice.

Everyone deserves an amazing job. I hope this helps you get one.

This week is all about practice. How good are you at telling stories about your accomplishments? How good are you at focusing your attention on someone? How about reading body language? How would it feel to practice landing your perfect job or getting the raise you’ve earned?

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