Job Interviews need your Speech Intelligence: Get Ready#1
Context: Speech Intelligence, and the link to Job Interviews
Humans have continually sought out the most efficient way to communicate. That’s socially, as well as professionally. gweek’s message is that we need to apply our Speech Intelligence whenever we interact with one another. This is not just our content (the knowledge and opinions that we hold), yet also the critical ability to explain ourselves clearly, yet authentically. And to be listener-centric.
In his article ‘Behavioral Intelligence: The Missing Link and Next Frontier’, Todd Maddox lays out a compelling case for the array of complementary intelligences in discussion today: Cognitive Intelligence (hard skills), Emotional Intelligence (soft skills) and Behavioral Intelligence (people and technical skills).
gweek champions the role of Speech Intelligence in today’s society. Speech Intelligence is the blended result of our hard, and our soft skills. It is how we are perceived by the outside world.
We are all Speech Intelligent. Yet we need to understand how to best harness it. And how to be the best communicator we can, no matter the circumstances.
If you have a round of job interviews coming up, then congratulations. Job interviews need your speech intelligence to work hard for you. 80% of how you perform at interview will be down to how you communicate. Do you want to be a good communicator, or a poor communicator? It’s in your hands!
In this Job interviews: Get ready series, we offer advice on how to boot your Speech Intelligence into action. This article is about your mindset to job interviews. In further articles, we’ll go deeper into actual preparation and communication techniques to help you communicate effectively in the interview itself. Let’s be Speech Intelligent, let’s be successful at interviews!
Article Summary Points:
1. Job interviews are strategic communications: Job interviews are often the first time we meet our potential new colleagues. Whether you join the organisation or not, you may well meet the same people in another context later in life. Interviews are not just one-off tactical meetings. They are a strategic opportunity to strengthen your network. You should expect to have more than one for any high value position. Google, with a huge 2 million job applicants per year, has discovered that it takes 4 interviews to be hired there successfully.
2. Job interviews can appear to be one-way communications, with the interviewers in control. The Wikipedia definition of an interview “is a conversation where questions are asked and answers are given”. This definition must not be interpreted as only the interviewers asking the questions. You must take charge as well, and show initiative.
3. Job interviews are increasingly handled by Artificial Intelligence. Get used to being interviewed by a machine, yet behave with equal clarity, confidence and authenticity.
Below, we’ll go into more detail on each Summary Point:
1. Be Strategic: Your interviewers are your network
A friend of mine, an experienced corporate communications professional went for a mid-level role an investment bank. 10 interviews and 3 months later, he got the job. He described it as a marathon. After the third interview, he started to lose heart and felt the process was unnecessary. Yet, he stuck with it. An amazing transformation came over him. He started to relax, and allowed his authenticity to really shine through. It ceased to become an interview process, and more an exercise in building his network ahead of actually joining his employer. He later reflected that he was glad he stayed with it, as the relationship-building helped him immensely once in the role.
Try not to view the situation as ‘interviewer’ vs ‘interviewee’. Look at interviews as strategic networking opportunities. They are perfect for show-casing your industry expertise, or how you aspire to build it. To demonstrate that you are relevant to your industry, you can attend industry events in your locality, and wherever possible, speak at them. You can then comment on these events via blogs, and on your professional networks, such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
In your interview, refer to what you learnt at these events, who you met, and how your network is expanding. This is very useful to an interviewer. Why? They’ll see you as pro-active, independent and strategic, as opposed to merely offering standard responses to interview questions. Don’t only go to these events when you are employed in a full-time role. They are part of your ongoing life portfolio.
At a networking event, it’s quite possible that you’ll bump into people who have interviewed you in the past, or may interview you in the future. Hence the need for authenticity as well as speech clarity. Equally, you can view an interview as a highly tailored networking event that you’re attending. Job interviews and networking events alike need your Speech Intelligence to be in gear and ready for opportunities.
2. Be pro-active: Interviews are structured conversations
When I first interview potential team members, I deliberately try to de-formalise the situation. We sit in a a cafe. By placing you, the candidate, in a relaxed setting I feel I can get to know you a bit better. I want you to feel comfortable enough to tell me about yourself, as opposed to feel there’s a right or wrong answer to my questions. Speaking of cafes, have you heard of the Coffee Cup Test, invented by Xero leader, Trent Innes?
Many interviewers will follow the same pattern of working out whether a strong rapport emerges, or least degree of empathy. After that, the company may introduce you to more team members. They may want to know more specific things about your expertise. They may choose a more formal meeting room instead, and expect more technical answers from you.
Using your Speech Intelligence, try to strike the balance between clarity, confidence and authenticity, no matter where your interview takes place. This will help you remember not to over-talk in a more open environment (a cafe), nor to under-talk in a more closed environment (an office meeting room). Instead, aim for consistency, no matter where you are.
The more interviews you have, the more you’ll see them as highly tailored industry networking events. Seek to build your network with your interviewers, who may also be industry thought leaders. At the interview, seek to teach them your perspective on industry events, instead of just practising responses to questions you expect to come up. It’s a structured, informed conversation, where you prompt discussion as well. You can also ask the interviewers questions on their industry views.
3. Be authentic: Even with AI interviewers
You‘re excited by an invite to an interview. You aspire to be an ambassador for a well-known hotel brand. However, the address for the interview looks a bit odd. It looks like it’s inside a shopping mall, just by the elevator lobby. When you get there, you see a row of white pods. They are just big enough for one person to climb into. You enter the pod. The door shuts, and a computer screen swivels down in front of you. Welcome to your interview.
If you’re going for a role that gets a lot of applicants, the chances are that an Artificial Intelligence will interview you. AI is becoming more popular as a first-round screening tool. You may have come across AI programmes build by LaunchPad Recruits, Sonru and Hirevue without even knowing it. These are advanced recruitment technologies that an employer may embed within a first screening round. If you live in Hong Kong, you may have been interviewed in the shopping mall pod. The AI programme will ask you a set of questions. The AI is programmed to identify job appropriate behaviours, via your verbal and non-verbal cues.
In all these environments, your ability to communicate effectively is critical to doing yourself justice. Whilst I support strong preparation ahead of each interview, it’s impossible to learn a different set of techniques for each type of interview. That’s why I urge you to lean into your Speech Intelligence. It will provide your foundation block, no matter who you come across; human or machine. Remember that job interviews need your Speech Intelligence, even if you’re talking to an Artificial Intelligence.
Look out for more articles in the Job Interviews: Get Ready series!
For now, we go into more aspects of how job interviews need your Speech Intelligence in this related article.
If you’re ready to practise your speech and communication skills right now, then head straight over to gweek and download our award-winning speech communication app
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– James Bryce