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Ruth Sherman, Ruth Sherman Associates LLC, works with business leaders, politicians and celebrities to help them leverage critical, high-stakes public communications. I’ve heard Ruth speak on several occasions and I was delighted when she agreed to provide a few communication tips to our readers.
AR: Should a jobseeker develop a ‘pitch?’ Why?
RS: The word ‘pitch’ has gotten a bad rap. That said, a jobseeker must be able to speak about him/herself with confidence, deliver a good presentation. That takes some practice to get right. Start by jotting down the two or 3 items you could bring to a given job THAT THEY WANT AND NEED (this is key, as it’s always ‘ and always should be — about the customer). Then practice saying them out loud. In your head doesn’t count. If they don’t easily roll off your tongue, change the wording so they do. Get them set in your mind, so you can just reel them off. Know how to speak about your last job(s) and why you left.
AR: What are three things an interviewee can do to make a positive impact on the interviewer?
RS: First, project confidence, even if you don’t feel it inside. This is key. Understand that no one wants to work with someone who comes across insecure or needy. Sit up straight, use your hands, make good eye contact with everyone in the room, use a strong (but not loud) voice.
Second, be prepared: know a lot about the company and, if possible, the job. So many interviewees go in without doing their homework.
Third, prepare questions ahead of time around the job ‘ the challenges, their goals. You want to try to get them talking so it’s more conversational. Bring them with you and don’t be afraid to look down at your notes.
AR: What three things should an interviewee avoid if they want to make a good impression on the interviewer?
RS: Obviously, the converse of everything in #2, but if I were to add 3 more they would be the following:
Dress well. An interview is no place to be casual. While you may not want to wear a jacket/tie (men) or a Jacket/skirt (women), you should look put together. It shows you care and that they can put you in front of clients. BTW, some workplaces demand a suit or formal dress, so, again, do your homework.
Be cheerful. Don’t let your anxiety or other negative feelings show.
Give a firm handshake, look people in the eye and smile when greeting them.
Ruth Sherman prepares clients, from CEO’s to Oscar winners, for high stakes public speaking, presentations and communications including keynotes, investor presentations, road shows, political campaigns, awards presentations and media contact. For more information visit her website www.ruthsherman.com.