Train Your Brain: How to Win at a High-Stakes Interview

Avoid quick and dirty thinking and do the  preparation

“We just don’t think you’re a match for the position.” Not the words you ever want to hear, especially if it’s a job you really want. Why did you fail? There could be many reasons, but avoiding a quick and dirty approach will improve your odds.

Use our guide below to ace that high-stakes interview and get that job.

Pay attention, Enhance answers, Do homework

1. Pay Attention

How did Thomas Edison evaluate job candidates: he took them to lunch. Once he got them there, he ordered soup for everybody. Why?  If an interviewee added salt and/or pepper to the soup before tasting it, it was a tell for Edison.

Edison did not want to hire people who made assumptions, he wanted things measured and evaluated scientifically. If you put salt and pepper in your soup before tasting it, you were making an assumption on how the soup might taste. Not a good move in Edison’s playbook.

2. Learn to Enhance Your Answers

The trouble is that we are taught that “less is more” when answering questions, especially in an interview. I once asked a woman to tell me something unusual that has happened to her recently.

  • She went on to describe how the mast on her sailboat snapped, the boat capsized, and she spent the night clinging to the hull until help arrived the next day. She used her long response to answer my question effectively.

3. Do Your Homework

There are many things you can do to prepare for an interview, one of them is not scanning the company’s website so you can parrot back company lingo. That would be quick and dirty. 

What should you do? Study the history of the industry and the company. Make your interviewers uncomfortable with your command of the facts. And, oh, why not spend $19.95 and run background checks on the people that will be interviewing you?

How you prepare for a high-stakes interview is more important than what you say in the interview. Do the work in advance of the big day and avoid quick and dirty thinking.

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