In a job interview scenario, the need to research and prepare is of paramount importance. However, the quest to retain all this information can often cloud one a genuine attribute that may be a huge point of difference: potential. What is potential? Google tells me that potential is “having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.” Showing this in an interview situation is not quite so straightforward. You need to show confidence and avoid desperation, not undervalue your current ability, and avoid arrogant, sales-pitch tones that may push you into the realm of distrust – a difficult balance to reach.
Beating your chest saying, ‘I’m the next business superstar’ will likely land you the ‘we’ll call you’ response that all interviewees dread. But to have this mentality pinned to the rear of your mind and expressed in modest confidence is a different story. This approach is a game changer. A famous quote from Sir Richard Branson, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later” is an expression that extends this mental picture. That is, ‘I can do all you ask of me, I might not know right now but I’ll learn, and wait until you see what I become.’
So, you’ve got your passion, you’ve got your ability, and your emotionless interviewers have a snapshot of your skills on a piece of paper in front of them. Now how do you go about getting them to teleport into the future to see you kicking massive goals for their business?
1. Be a solution to every employer’s first problem – finding great staff
The best way to come across like you know what you’re talking about is to know what you’re talking about. Know your resume, know your technical skills and know that these are a great start in this job. However, you should also show the employer how you can progress, through examples of growth, loyalty and dedication in previous jobs, or other relatable activities such as sport, recreation, schooling, etc. Often, interviewers will use “behavioural questions”, where they ask about a situation you were in previously and how you overcame or got through it. These are great opportunities to highlight skills that might not be listed on your CV, and showcase your potential to add value in the future. When spoken with modesty and passion, your interviewers will apply what you’re telling them to their vision of you in their business!
2. Use body language and tone to your advantage
Trust will be a critical determinant in your progression beyond the interview stage. When talking about the future you, the employer will only digest what they believe, so it’s important to leverage techniques that will assist in this such as: mirroring the interviewer’s handshake, leaning forward when seated while maintaining a strong posture (straight back), making eye contact when speaking and listening, and moderately raising your tone when speaking on passionate topics, maintaining this when highlighting your growth ambitions and prospects with the business.
3. Direct your enthusiasm to the specific nature of the job
If the position is pitched as a 12-month project assignment, don’t use examples that show how you’ve taken 3 years to progress, or talk how you plan to grow with the company over 5 years. Talk to the nature of the position and highlight experiences of direct relevance such as: where you’ve hit the ground running in the past, and how it’s in your nature to exceed initial expectations through work ethic and dedication. If it’s for the long-term, trigger the experiences that show your progression, your ability to learn, adapt to change and your willingness to offer innovative improvements that will stand the company in good stead for the future.
4. Delivery is key
The ability to communicate is everything in an interview. This is why some quick practice to master your ideas and plans through your verbal language and non-verbal cues is important. Your content answers the questions and shows your knowledge, but your delivery expresses honesty and trust, highlights your passion, depicts your cultural fit, and ultimately puts the spotlight on the vision of your potential within the prospective business. Get both content and delivery right, and you’ve got the combination that’ll set you apart.
Make the most of your opportunity - be conscious of the importance of non-verbal cues and your tone of voice, and package this up with your knowledge that has got you to interview stage. There’s power in your potential, so show your future employer you’ve got it! If you’re looking for advice on how to stand out and showcase your full potential in an interview, feel free to get in touch.