A friend of mine sent me one of the most satirical videos I have seen in a while about a millennial who was being interviewed by a non-millennial. Of course, the mock interview was exaggerated, but I’m certain this interview might be closer to reality for some than they might think. This was the perfect example of showcasing someone who is at the oblivious level of being self-aware.
In the last two decades, I have literally interviewed hundreds of people. When I think about the ones which stand out in my mind as being some of the best interviews, they were with people who were highly self-aware. So, at this point you might be considering whether you would have me place you into this category? You might also be wondering what my definition of being self-aware is. I hope you are, as there is a wide spectrum for this description.
Not everyone who is self-aware has years of interviewing experience. In fact, some of the least seasoned interview candidates highly impressed me with how aware they were of how they were being perceived. Part of their awareness has to do with emotional intelligence, so much of it is purely innate, and some self-awareness comes from both experience and coaching. In other words, there are a number of ways someone can become more self-aware, especially during interviews.
Here are some ideas about how you can become more self-aware during your future interviews, or potentially during professional conversations you are having with others.
- During your interviews, what percentage of time are you speaking versus listening? If you are speaking more than 75% of the time, you might not be giving the interviewer a chance to ask you more questions to learn more about you.
- Do you feel like your personality changes when you go into “interview mode”? If you do not know what I am referring to, then chances are you do go into “interview mode”. When you do this, you can come across as more “robotic”, and are less aware of how you are coming across to the interviewer.
- Are you so nervous during the interview that you simply want it to be over? What if you could actually enjoy the interview process? You can if you are more self-aware of how you are being perceived.
- Have you ever practiced and recorded how you are acting during a mock interview? You will be amazed at potentially the things you might be doing which you are not aware of (e.g., blinking more than normal, moving around a great deal in your chair, not making enough eye contact with the interviewer, interrupting the interviewer, nervously twisting your hair or itching your scalp). I could go on forever with this list, so I will spare you some of the more “interesting” things I have seen non-self-aware people have done.
- Let’s assume you have descent posture. If you don’t have good posture, and regardless of whether you are sitting or standing, you can help to increase your perception of self-awareness by monitoring and having good posture. By doing this one simple thing, you will come across as being more confident and attentive.
- Having the right amount of courtesy distance from the interviewer is also something to consider. Generally, this is not an issue, but it is something to factor in as well. Since most interviews these days are done via Zoom or other on-line methods, here is a link to some additional tips I recommended when I was on ABC News recently talking about “How to nail a Zoom
- Think about some of the people you might have interviewed. Which ones impressed you, and which ones didn’t? Make a list of the pros and cons, and think about whether any of them apply to you.
Interviewing can actually be fun, and the more self-aware you are, the more fun you can have with the process. When you interview well, it obviously opens up opportunities for you to consider. If you are interested in having more opportunities to consider, make sure you are as self-aware about how you come across to others as you can be. Achieving and mastering self-awareness should be a goal all of us can strive to accomplish. Good luck with the process, and let me know if my ideas can or did help you, or if you have others to add to this list.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
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