Bimbo Banter

The Art of the Interview

  • Wildcard
  • July 25, 2016
  • by Merrie Spaeth

Miss america

Miss America and C-suite executives have more in common than you think. Having just finished a book written for pageant contestants and another with tips from a headhunter, I could almost switch the covers and not know the difference.

I have spent 30 years teaching people how to excel at virtually every kind of interview and some of the rules are whether its tough reporters, C-suite decision makers, HR gate keepers, college admissions officers or beauty pageant judges.

Interviews are a fact of life; here are five keys to mastering the art of the interview:

1. Determine who’s your audience. The clearer picture you have of your audience, the more successful you’ll be.  

2. Know what you want your audience to remember. You need to have your message, headlines and stories ready.

3. Anticipate the questions. List out all the questions you can think of beforehand. For media interviews, be prepared to introduce topics. In job interviews, also be prepared with questions for the interviewer.  

4. Rehearse! Preferably with outside help for an unvarnished opinion.  

The former headhunter says that you should “leave acting to the actors,” but we think much better advice comes from Tristan Walker, founder of a beauty products company, who identified an acting class as the best course he took at Stanford Business School. Walker said, “The best class was Acting with Power, a drama class where they coach you. I learned that power, encouragement, and motivation can be taught.” Of course you’re performing!

5. Tell yourself you like the interviewer. That should produce a pleasant facial expression. It’s unnatural to smile consistently for a prolonged period of time, but you need to give off the aura of enjoyment. Likeability depends on how much the audience thinks you like them.

And remember, it is an art.

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