The Fit Student – Sweet Talk

Are you a Canadian slapped with joblessness? A hundred interviews, but not one job?

Employers ooh and ah my resume. They rope me into interviews, lining up on my answering machine. When they hear my voice, they beg me for in-person interviews. But once they see me, I get the Dear John.

So, I floundered to change my look. I colored my hair—the nicest in a decade. I slimmed down on a health-nut diet. I bought new suits, shiny shoes, and a touch of makeup. I started exercising six days a week. Within four months, I looked ten years younger. A shiny penny, I strolled into interviews—yet Dear John kept scrawling.

Where did I fail? One blunt HR lady laid it out: low energy. Jeb Bush low energy. So, I asked Ms. HR what “low energy” meant. She said I sounded soft-spoken, passive, unconfident. Her points of flattery? She saw me as smart—a thinker whose ideas flash after the interview. And sweet. Her insults dripped with the sweet talk.

Yet, she spurred me to succeed: I yearned to learn confidence. Yet, confidence repelled me. Why? An artist once said triangles suggest confidence: hands on hips, legs apart, arms raised in V-shapes. I visualized Rosie O’Donnell’s rants of man-hate. Beastly. Bad-looking.

But to succeed, I needed a new take on confidence. A friend said, “Find books on confidence.” So, I found the best: How to Speak with Confidence in Public by Edie Lush and Charlotte McDougall. The authors show how to win with confidence at face-to-face interviews:
• Prior to the interview, rehearse stories.
• Include stories answering these questions: “Tell me about yourself.” “Why do you want to work with us?” “How did you handle a challenge?” “What makes you a fit?” Turn your life successes into snappy stories.
• And add a personal touch to your stories, such as emotion or humor. Use names and direct quotes wherever you can.
• But practice each story three times. Record your practice using a smart phone.
• Plus, find two facts about your potential boss.
• A few moments before the interview, walk up a stairwell to build energy. Then find a toilet stall to power pose in privately. In the can, put hands on hips, legs apart, and deep breathe ten times. Pump up your confidence.
• At all times inside the building, smile and speak kindly to everyone you meet. One might pass praise to your potential boss.
• At the interview, open with “I’m delighted to be here.”
• Then pretend you’re hosting a dinner gala. Engage the boss with warm, personal stories. Ask questions; gage responses.
• The longer your chitchat, the more human you seem. Strive for 25 minutes—or more—of non-work talk.
• When asked questions, express awe with the questions and show pride over your successes.
• Also, double your voice volume, emphasizing every word. Sounds forced? Not when you playback the recording. Try it and see.
• Also, keep your arms wide like two balloons got stuffed under your armpits. Spark energy with lots of gesturing.
• And smile.

So, shove away Jeb-Bush low energy. And tell stories. Use quotes, names, and pride—like a Rosie with a sweet smile.