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Any personal question will work as well, because it will pull them out of their “routine” stance. They have a plan and are moving ahead on it. If you bring up something out of ordinary, you will get their full attention.
If you’ve ever dropped your briefcase during an interview and had contents fall to floor, you know about element of surprise.
However, you need to find a way to do this that doesn’t make you look bad, and doesn’t totally change focus. You need to work something unusual into regular train of thought.
When you enter interview room, be alert to your surroundings so you can find some cues. You’ll see credentials on walls, photographs, knick knacks and other personal items about interviewer and company.
Look for things you can later work into conversation. This shows a high level of EQ. In fact it takes a high level of EQ, and interviewers these days are just as concerned about what they call “soft skills,” as with your credentials, academic training, and experience. FOR EXAMPLE
Let’s say you’re interviewing for a position as HR professional. When you enter interviewer’s office, you notice her credentials on wall: College degree from Connecticut, specialty credential from UK, master’s degree from Louisiana, photo of her in front of Great Wall of China. As you get into interview, and start talking about your skills at multicultural management, you can mention, “As I’m sure you know, having studied in various places, someone from an Eastern culture such as China expects … while someone from Louisiana expects … while someone from UK will do …”
This will bring interviewer to full alert. Anything personal gets our attention. We like to be noticed as an individual; that you can always count on.
You could also ask interviewer a question. “I’ve found that … but, I was wondering, when you were in China did you find that Chinese …?” Point to pertinent photo as you speak; you don’t want to appear inscrutable. Yes, you could ask her about photo of her and governor of your state, but it’s more subtle, and shows higher EQ if you find a way to work it appropriately into conversation. It’s smoother; less contrived.
NOTHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED
If you don’t get, and sustain, interviewer’s attention, it won’t matter what you say. You won’t be heard. You won’t be remembered. The point is to stand out, but to stand out in a positive way. It’s easy to get so focused on yourself, and stress you’re under, you forget to look at it from most important person’s point of view – interviewer.
Keep your EQ about you. Be aware of state of interviewer at every step, and make sure you bring them along with you. You want to be paying attention to HOW you’re doing, not WHAT you’re doing.
(c)Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Coaching, business programs, Internet courses, teleclasses and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional development. Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE ezine.