June 19, 2011

Slay Your Next Job Interview with One Killer Question!

By Patrick Mahan

you could take charge in your next interview by asking one, simple question that could dramatically increase your chances of landing the job?

A question powerful enough to not only take control of the interview, but also the mind of the interviewer!

The principles behind this question are derived from some of the hypnotic language patterns of NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming). They include embedded commands, future pacing and elements of conversational hypnosis.

Next time you find yourself in a job interview, begin -- as always -- by establishing rapport.  This can be achieved using NLP techniques such as: mirror matching, pacing, leading, etc.

During this initial phase, the most important thing to remember about rapport is this... People like people who are like themselves. Similarity and commonality are strong psychological influencers.  So the more you can demonstrate that you are like (or similar) to the interviewer, the more he/she will like you back.

So you've established rapport and are nearing the end of the interview. Now here's the script, including the set-up, followed by the million-dollar question...

"I'm sure you've given a lot of thought to what a "successful hire" looks like [casually point to yourself]... and I hope (pause) I fit that picture in your mind as someone you like and can trust.
I do have just one last question... If we could fast forward 12 months and imagine that I've been working for you now for a full year (pause)... And suppose rather than an interview, this is actually a performance evaluation (pause)...  in an ideal world—based on the past 12 months—what results would you expect me to have achieved for you?"
This pattern is brilliant because it forces the interviewer to imagine a scenario in which he has already hired you. (One of the keys to persuasion is getting your target to imagine doing whatever it is you want them to do. You want them to take ownership in their mind.)

The interviewer's answer to the question, "What results would you expect me to have achieved for you?" will naturally include a list of positive results. These results will then be anchored to you... as if you've already achieved them!

Here are a few more hidden benefits you'll get out of this script...

1. Rapport will strengthen because—after taking this "year-long journey" in his mind—subconsciously, the interviewer will feel like he's known you for a year rather than just the past 20 minutes! Remember, our body's nervous system cannot distinguish the difference between what is real versus what is vividly imagined.  This fast-forwarding tactic is known as future-pacing.

2. Rather than taking the typical, reactive approach to answering the questions, this shows the interviewer that you are assertive, proactive and results-driven.

3. By knowing his expectations, it becomes easier for you to meet those expectations. In effect, he has given you the specific criteria in which he will later use to judge your success in this company. Now, all you have to do is "playback" the information he has given you and plug yourself into it! 

For example, if the interviewer says, "Looking forward a year from now, I see you helping us increase market share in the mid-west region." 

Later in the interview, you would say, "With my previous employer, I created a referral program that helped increase sales by 20%.  I would love to implement a similar strategy in your mid-west region."

Can you see the tremendous amount of power packed into this one, single script? Can you hear yourself delivering it flawlessly?

Now go back and re-read the script. This time, pay special attention to the words in italics. They indicate embedded commands and should be delivered with a slightly different tone. You may find it also helps to add a brief pause before delivering the embedded commands. Remember what Mark Twain said...

"No word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."
These techniques work, but you have to practice. You want them to sound completely natural, not canned. If you rehearse your scripts like an actor, soon you will be delivering Oscar-worthy performances!

BONUS!!!  We all know the importance of first impressions. So what can you do to gain a big advantage right off the bat? Here are a few quick tips...

  1. Dress the part.
  2. Smile.  A genuine smile, not a fake one.  What makes a smile genuine?  It's all in the eyes. A genuine smile causes the muscles around your eyes to contract, forming tiny wrinkles in the corners of your eyes. Remember that.
  3. Show your appreciation. "Thank you for taking time to see me today." The interviewer will appreciate you if you appreciate them.
  4. Say their name twice, but no more.  Rapport increases when you say a person's name.  But be careful... if you say their name too many times, then you start to sound like a slick, used car salesman.  Saying the person's name twice is plenty. Once in the beginning and once at the end.
The 5th and final tip is my favorite.  Check this out... Ask the interviewer:
"I'm sure you've gotten a lot of applicants for this job, so I'm just curious... what made you pick me for an interview?"
The interviewer will begin to list everything about you, your resume and/or your referrals, that piqued his interest.  Then, he will spend the remainder of the interview looking to validate his preconceptions about you.

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  1. Wow!!! this is the way to ace it!!! fantastic!!!

  2. Thank you! And good luck! I'd love to hear about your experience using these techniques if you decide to use them!


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