WorkWise: How to develop interviewing mindset

culp@workwise.netJanuary 27, 2013 

Composure may elude you when you walk into interviews. How can you ready yourself ahead of time and once again as you walk through the door? Begin by developing a little-known tactic for handling a shortcoming, discussing compensation and preparing your mind.


Don’t let a personal weakness or shortcoming trip you up during an interview. Know yourself well as a professional so you also know how you can overcome a shortcoming on the job. Make that shortcoming professional, not personal. Joel Gross, founder and CEO of Coalition Technologies LLC, a web design and marketing firm in Seattle, Wash., and Los Angeles, advocates responding authentically to a question about a weakness. He’s heard applicants inflate a personal quality into a supposed weakness.

Shift the focus off you to the job. He recommends considering the part of the job that’s new, then outlining how you’ll learn it, as you’ve done in other new situations in the past, whether personal or professional.


Put thoughts about money in their rightful place, somewhere after opportunity, indicates Randy Strauss, managing director of StraussGroup Inc., a Buffalo, N.Y., executive recruiting firm. You might discuss money along with other factors, such as opportunity and career growth. “Always have a good reason for why this opportunity is a good one,” he comments, even if you’re a salesperson.

You’ll no doubt be thinking about salary. If the interviewer does bring it up, answer it without closing the door, such as with one Strauss posits: “I’m sure if you make me an offer, it will be a fair one.” Have an exact figure.

Gross suggests an alternative: “I want to be paid what you would pay someone who is doing 100 percent of what you’re looking for.” He discourages discounting, because it makes you seem less confident.


Psychologist Judy Rosenberg, in private practice in Sherman Oaks, recommends asking yourself what you’re really trying to do. “If (you intend) to share and make the company better,” she says, “you’ll be on the road to positive results.

“Picture yourself as interconnected with this company,” she continues. “You’re part of a beautiful whole. Because of you, everyone is better off. (Think about) showing off your creativity, your humor, your good heart and care for the well-being of all.”

Dana Hyatt, principal at Meritage in Dallas, Tex., survived multiple corporate consolidations by substituting the concept of customer for interviewer to shift thinking from a person as a possible henchman to one “whose business you hope to gain and/or keep.”

“Visualize yourself in the environment and waiting on your first-day-on-the-job meeting with the interviewer who is instead now your new manager,” she advises. “Think about all that you know and how excited you are to meet people, learn more and share with them how you can partner. Don’t forget about how you can be easy to do business with.”

Gary Spinell, also a Dallas-based proponent of visualization, teaches timid job seekers to listen to music for 15 minutes before an interview, “and if not in your car, dance around a little bit to get pumped and release nervous energy.”

If you’re too excited, try walking outdoors, he suggests, listening to calming music. He believes that this tactic overcomes heightened apprehension. By sitting down and closing your eyes, you can visualize yourself and the person you’ll be meeting, “shaking hands, with both of you smiling and even laughing as you convey your key information flawlessly and with grace,” he says.

The interviewing mind set is mindful. Prepare for yours to be.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at © 2013 Passage Media.

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