368: Why “Be Yourself” During An Interview Isn’t Actually The Craziest Advice You’ve Ever Heard

Your palms are sweating. Your heart is racing. Heck, you even forgot your name.

Until someone shouts it out loud, walking towards you with their hand outstretched.

As you greet this person, you try to keep your hand steady…but it feels like they can see right through you. There’s no way you’re going to get this job, you might think.

I know, I know–I’ve heard it plenty of times. Going on an interview can seem like it’s a scary thing. But, let me let you in on a little secret: You have no reason to be nervous. You are interviewing that company just as much as they are interviewing you (if not more!).

Sound crazy? Well, through my experience helping thousands of people to land their dream career, I’ve seen this magic trick in action. When you’re just…you during the interview process, you’re no longer at the mercy of that big company–and you end up landing that dream job with ease.

It might seem difficult to wrap your heard around though (and easy enough to say, Scott!). On an interview it feels like you have to be on your best behavior hoping that your skills and personality align with the expectations of the person sitting across the table from you. It often feels like throwing a dart against the wall in a pitch black room.

But, when you learn how to be authentically you during the interview process, that’s no longer the case. And today, along with Career Coach Evangelia LeClaire, I will tell you exactly how to do it.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF INTERVIEWING AUTHENTICALLY? YOUR MINDSET.

Long before you even begin thinking about going on an interview, you need to get into the right mindset. This accounts for nearly 80% of your interview success!

Having a confident, present mindset allows you to head into your future interviews with ease. It channels your nerves (those sweaty palms and racing heart) into excitement instead. And, it allows you to be yourself.

In order to get into this mindset though, you have to know yourself well, and respect your past experiences. You need to understand your career equity. And, that takes introspection.

That introspection doesn’t come overnight either. It’s a practice that builds up over time, which is why “cramming” for interviews isn’t effective. Being true self in an interview comes down to self-development.

INTERVIEW PREP STARTS LONG BEFORE THE INTERVIEW IS SCHEDULED

Since a large part of being successful in interviews, and ultimately landing your dream job comes down to organizational alignment, it takes a lot of prep work to understand what is a career fit.

So, let’s take a step back.

Evangelia suggest that this path of self-discovery could happen on your own, or with a coach. “But importantly,” she says, “you should start with identifying your strengths.”

If you’re at the very beginning stages of your self-discovery, we have a great resource that helps you get clear on what the right career is for you. It’s an 8-day course that makes you dig deeper, and understand what those strengths are.

Evangelia suggest another great tool: A Trello Board, which you can see an example of below. 

A Trello Board allows you to collect all of your values, strengths, and what type of work energizes you. You can complete this exercise with a coach, or on your own–though it’s usually helpful to have a second pair of eyes (even if it’s just a friend!). Regardless, you should use an organizational tool like Evernote to keep track of these findings–they will come in handy later, I promise.

AND REMEMBER — A LITTLE MORE CONVERSATION NEVER HURTS

Once you have done your self-discovery work, get to talking…a lot.

Connecting with people in the organization you’re interested in will help you get clear on your own personal values and what the company is about. And, it will be an extreme bonus when the actual interview roles around.

During our conversation, Evangelia reminds us that this discovery phase extends to finding the right organization, too.

I think a lot of us get into interviews and feel we are at the mercy of the company which isn’t a great mindset to have. People that go with that mindset accept a role or convince a company that they are the fit for a role that they really aren’t right for. That causes eventual agony and months and years of waste.

It’s important to remember that the preparation phases before you land the interview are just as important–and cramming never works. Spending time getting to know yourself and the organization you think you’re interested in working for might seem like it takes a lot of time and energy–but at the end of the day it could save you years of your life.

But when you enter these “informational” chats, what might you say?

Evangelia shares a couple of simple conversation starts that could help:

When you get to the actual interview–even if it’s not with the same person that you spoke with during your exploration phase, you can leverage the information that you learned. Whether it’s concrete examples, or even just knowing the tone of conversation within the organization’s culture, all these learnings will prove helpful.

Also, it’s scientifically proven that we build trust faster with people we are familiar with. It’s not “name dropping” anymore, right?

SO, THE INTERVIEW IS FINALLY SCHEDULED: NOW WHAT?

So, you finally have The Big Interview on your calendar. Don’t start getting nervous yet–you’ve already been doing your homework for a long time!

Evangelia shares a few important tools and practices to use during this phase. The first is getting organized, and referring back to that self-discovery work you did in the beginning: your Trello Board.

Rather than going in worrying how to answer the 30 most common questions in an interview, whittle it down to what they are seeking and creating stories that support it. It’s so much easier for you to pull out these stories out without saying the same thing during each question.

After looking back at your strengths, compare them with the career competencies listed on the job description. These might be project management, or data analysis–basically, the “skills” you’ll need for the job. After comparing these two important pieces of information, you can start crafting your stories.

You should prepare about 3 – 4 stories about the core competencies you know are important for this role. In this process you don’t need to be perfect. You just need to think of clear examples that demonstrate your true self–and how your strengths align with this role. Leave out the minute details.

There are a couple of different frameworks that we like to use in the coaching world. You can use the “present, past or future” framework (one of my favorites!):

It can sound like currently I’m a ____. Where I get to do ___ (things that are relevant) and before that I did ____ (inserting relevant traits and experience), and in the future I want to ____.

THE BIG DAY: TOP 3 TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND DURING YOUR INTERVIEW

So, you made it to the big day: Your Interview.

Out of all the preparation you did, Evangelia and I have 3 major tips to keep in mind, so that all that hard preparation comes in handy.

  1. It’s all about your mindset Remember, 80% of your interview success is about your mindset. Think about all the preparation you did to get here, and all of the experience you have relative to this role. Be confident!
  2. Think of your stories as guideposts Your stories should guide you throughout your conversation. Don’t have anything memorized, or know exactly how you would answer the “Top 30 Questions To Know When You Interview.” Knowing the content of your stories will be able to back you up for any question.
  3. Be flexible! Look for cues from your environment, and the person you’re speaking with. If you were set on telling a story about your 5th grade graduation (I wouldn’t recommend that anyway!), but your interviewer is taking you down another path – go with it. You got this!

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:00
Imagine this, your palms are sweating, your heart is racing. Okay, you might have even forgot your name. That is, until someone shouts it out loud walking right towards you. And they've got their hand outstretched. As you greet this person, you try and keep your hand steady, but it feels like they can see right through you, there's no way whatsoever you're going to get this job, or at least, that might pass through your mind. As a career coach, I've actually heard this scenario plenty of times. And I know that that going on in an interview can seem scary. But I want to let you in a little secret here. You have no reason to be nervous. Why? Well, because you're interviewing that company just as much as they are interviewing you. If that sounds crazy, or unrelatable or even impossible, I want to let you in on another little secret. I have a few magic tricks that will stop the sweaty palms and racing heart.

Introduction 01:02
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what it does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:26
In Episode 129 of the Happen To Your Career podcast, Evangelia LeClaire shared her story. By the way, she's an amazing career coach, who was, even on the Happen To Your Career team for a couple of years. But later, we had her back on the podcast to show you how to prepare for an interview.

Evangelia LeClaire 01:45
Most people go into an interview, already, just even the thought of interviewing sounds very uncomfortable to people, it makes a majority of people feel anxious because of the unknowns. So getting into the right mindset and being present to what we'll talk about, which is, really yourself and knowing yourself is gonna... and allow you to go about this interview with more ease.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:13
I think that you're right for a variety of different reasons here. That mindset piece, I think that comes as a surprise though to most people because it... I don't know, when I talk to people about interviews, they're like, "oh yeah! Mindset" they're worried about, "am I going to be sweaty or nervous?" Or are they worried about, "hey, how am I going to answer these questions?" or "what am I going to say when they asked me that, tell me about yourself question that comes up ridiculously on every single interview." And my intent seems to be the last thing, however, to your point, that you just made is that it impacts all of those, right?

Evangelia LeClaire 02:52
Yeah, nobody gets excited about, I mean, you get excited when you know an interview is coming up, but then usually what thought follows that, is an avalanche of nerves. And so the mindset piece is so important when we think about how to prepare for an interview, and when we go into an interview.

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:07
So let's talk about that. What... if we break it down even further, what are some of the things that really, people can do to get themselves focused in the right mindset for the time and place in order to be fully effective and show their true selves in the interviews?

Evangelia LeClaire 03:33
Okay, so I have a few tips on this. But the primary foundation to get you into a good mindset is to really know yourself and accept yourself, your experience, all of the equity that you've built in your career, in your personal and professional life. And really appreciate that for what it is and then begin to identify what you've done in your experience, and even the character traits that you have, that could connect the dots to this future opportunity. So coming from that place of knowing your values, your experience, your skillset, milestone moments that you've had, your successes, your wins, and building up the equity that will help you have the confidence and be present to who you are, appreciate who you are, so that no matter what comes next, whatever opportunity comes next, you can come from that place of knowing yourself and having confidence that who you are is gonna eventually connect the dots to the next thing in your future.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:46
Okay, so there's two things that I take from that. One, is maybe semi obvious, in that nobody is going to know yourself as well as you do. So you're not going to be, unless you have that prerequisite of truly understanding yourself in that variety of ways that you just described, then it's going to be really difficult to articulate yourself in a way that is going to be useful to an employer, potential employer, future boss, potentially future co workers, that's going to be endearing to them. So that part makes sense. And the other part that you mentioned, too, is it seems like the piece that's buried in there then is, in order to be great at interviews, you almost have to start prepping for interviews before there is ever interviews. But in case of self development, I'm not quite sure how to turn that but it seems like it's going to be... you're going to be at a loss if you're not particularly self aware, and you've got an interview tomorrow and you're trying to cram and prep and everything like that.

Evangelia LeClaire 05:56
Absolutely. Part of what will get you hired is the foundational piece for knowing yourself so much that you are very clear on what you value, your strengths and all the things that I mentioned before, but also ensuring that you're targeting opportunities that are in alignment and are of integrity to yourself, your values, your skills, and so that when you come forward in an interview, part of the work that we advise that you do is one, knowing the position, the employer, the job, the company, the values of the company, and one ensuring that, if someone aligned to who you are, and then two, being able to present that and converge that in the interview. So there's a lot of tactics and strategies to go into that but on a very basic level, finding opportunities that really truly are aligned with who you are and what would be a good fit for you, is part of the foundational piece.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:03
Okay, so let's say that, then I know that I'm going to be making a career change, which means that I know that probably in the next few months here, I'm going to be doing some interviews. Let's just assume that and that's the place where many of our listeners are at, right? So what can I do to begin to really fill out those prerequisites, not fill out, but perform those prerequisites, where I understand myself to the degree that is going to be helpful to me in the interview process and show through. What's a couple things that I can begin doing, so that as I get to know the company, the positions, the interviews, those things I can understand really well if it lines up?

Evangelia LeClaire 07:46
So the discovery piece is, of yourself really falls into checking back into digging deep, whether it's with a coach or through your own self, soul searching, understanding, I often like to start with, you know, values. And so if you didn't know, Scott, I'm huge on Latin, a lover of Latin and that comes from the word valore...

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:13
I did not know that.

Evangelia LeClaire 08:14
I don't know, I studied Latin in high school and in college, and I love words, ancient Greek, Latin, I love connecting them to the English language. So the word value itself comes from the Latin root, valore, which means strength. So if you think about and you know, strengths, think about, if you're living from your values set, you feel stronger overall in your life. And so that's part of the foundational piece. And then, you know, we've talked about this a lot on this show, than understanding what your strengths are, and how from the Strength Finders perspective, what your personality is, and how that plays into your work and what energizes you, passion, skill set. So we start with the basic foundational piece to really uncover and deep getting into the layers of who you are. And then going into, how you could begin preparing and coming from a place of confidence, writing that down and housing that in like Evernote or Trello, your values, your strengths, your personality, the things that energize you, will help you get clear and identifying opportunities that are in alignment with that when you go searching for that, then when it's... when we talk about, when you do find opportunities, and you're preparing for interviews, reviewing the company, the job description, speaking to a few people at that company to understand where there is alignment and going into more tactical piece. As you get clear on what is required of the job and the positions that interest you begin to write that out and categorize it into a system like Evernote or Trello. So getting more again into the tactical if you know that at a job requires somebody who's great at customer service and, you know, consultative sales and problem solving, begin to write those out into your buckets and begin to assemble your stories and your strengths and your experiences that can really harness the character traits and the competencies that are required of the future positions that interests you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:25
Okay, this is super helpful, and there's a couple of things I want to pull out of there, because I don't want them to get lost along the way. One of the things that people might have just glossed over but I think is really important here. As you are, first of all, as you're going through the process to get to know yourself, I will say that if you're not quite sure where to start, or how to do some of that digger deeping, digging deeper, you know, the place where you dig, and one resource that we have is you can go over to happentoyourcareer.com and click on, actually go, we've got it even easier in that. Go to figureitout.co and that'll allow you to sign up for our eight day course that helps you get clear on the career that might be right for you. And it's going to get you started in some of that digging deeper pieces in a way that's going to be useful for you as you get into interviews. But the part that I don't want to get lost there is I heard you say, as you're getting ready to interview, make sure that you're talking to other people in the organization. Now the weird thing about that, that I've experienced, I'm curious as to your thoughts on this as you've worked with different students and clients, I've always seen people when they have those conversations, it makes them clearer on what they want or don't want and doesn't just tell them about the organization but they get clearer for themselves about their values and it's a weird byproduct that I've seen. But I'm curious, what have you seen when that happens?

Evangelia LeClaire 12:04
Yeah. So what I've seen when that happens is based off of, you know, the questions that you asked, which should be very deliberate and intentional, when you do get insider information prior to an interview, you begin to see yourself, you begin to see whether you could see yourself in that position in that company, in that culture or not, which is kind of like what you just said, Scott. And then the other part is you also get a sense from the other person that's speaking to you of some things that you may not have known otherwise, that aren't listed on the company's website and or on the job description that can either help you in an interview, or help you determine that this isn't the right fit. So yeah, that's my perspective very similar to yours.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:58
Interesting. And I like what you're saying about helping determine that it's not the right fit too because I think so many of us get into interviews, and then we feel like we're sort of at the mercy of the company. And that really isn't, it's really not an effective, going back to my insights, not an effective mindset to have, as you're going through it. I've seen so many people that when they go through with that particular mindset, and feel at the mercy of the company, then they end up in a role or accept a role or somehow managed to convince a company that they're right for a role that they're really not right for, and that causes eventual agony, and sometimes months or even years of waste. So yeah, I completely agree with that. And let's talk about as people are going in, and they're getting to know some of these people, what would be one or two examples of questions that they could ask if they're trying to get to know the company prior to any interviews and get to know other people in?

Evangelia LeClaire 14:01
Yeah. Well, if you're speaking to somebody who is on the team, that you are going to be interviewing with, for, on a team of the position that falls within the same team that you would be working for if you got hired, it could be things like, you know, what are some challenges that the team is currently facing, that within the next 90 days, or that you are excited about? So you want to frame it of course, in a way that doesn't make you sound negative, or that you're looking to grab some dish from negative dish from you know, the person that you're speaking with. So that could be one of the questions that sounds polite. And another question could be, you know, tell me what it is about the culture of this company that you really love that make you feel great going to work each day?

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:00
I love that. And I... one of the things that's really interesting to me too, going along the lines of what you've mentioned before, trying to determine if something is a great fit versus not a great fit, I think if you've already done this previous work that you're talking about, and know what it is that you want or need, then it allows you to be able to even tailor those questions even further. For example, if you know that on the spectrum of growth and learning, you have to have a lot of growth and a lot of learning, in order to really line up with something that you want or an opportunity that you want, they have to provide that for you, then you might be able to ask that question then as you go and "hey, how does, you know, this person who's the boss or, you know, how does this company support growth and learning? What are some ways that they do that?" And then you can get down to some of the specifics that matter to you as well.

Evangelia LeClaire 15:53
Oh, yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:54
And...

Evangelia LeClaire 15:55
So good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:55
It's not always easy to do that, like there's never a... any list of questions that we can give you, even though that I know you can probably come up with hundreds of questions that you've given people in the past. It's even better if you can take those and customize them to what you want or need because of that work that you've done and use a little work...

Evangelia LeClaire 16:19
So good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:20
So how about another question here? Let's say that I am really getting to know this company, the people in the company and the interviewers, how do I leverage that information in an actual interview, or as I'm going into the interview?

Evangelia LeClaire 16:44
One of the things that you can do, it actually in conversation is mentioned that you've connected with a few people at the company. And some people automatically think even before connecting with some people at the company, like, "oh my gosh, it's not even appropriate." It's not as they want, what would they think, right? But those who do it are actually like, in most cases, like commended for doing that, like good on you, like you're doing your due diligence. Wow, you're not desperate, you're trying to figure out if this company would actually be a good fit. So you've connected with a few people. Wow, good on you. So to, in conversation, be able to reference some of the examples or stories that others have shared with you that made you feel very connected to the company and the role and the team and being able to bring out some of those stories politely and assertively in an interview will help the person that's interviewing you feel like you're already part of the team because now you're able to actually connect on a deeper level by referencing some of the people that you've spoken with, if you do it the right way.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:00
Yeah, that and there's a ton of psychology behind that too, because we have a tendency to build trust faster with other people, as we have familiarity with those people. So one of the ways that you just mentioned to create that familiarity, is to be able to describe some of the conversations you have had with people they already know and then be able to share some of the reasons that you really enjoyed, or you know, absolutely love some of the things that you loved about those conversations and be able to relate to why it might fit in. That creates that familiarity, which begins to cause people to like you whether they want to or not, in some cases. And then that like starts to turn into trust, which trust turns into, in many cases, being closer and closer to a job offer.

Evangelia LeClaire 18:54
Absolutely.

Scott Anthony Barlow 18:55
And okay, let's talk about how to prepare for this upcoming interview. Let's say that people have done a great job getting to know themselves. They have been talking to some of the people in the organization and doing their due diligence and research, and that they understand about a bit the company, at least from everything that they can tell, it lines up with what they value, it lines up with how they're going to be able to leverage some of their strengths that are important to them, and so on so forth. And knowing that, what can they do and what should they do to be able to prepare for this upcoming interview?

Evangelia LeClaire 19:38
Okay, so, one of the things that I like to encourage the people I work with to do is to begin housing this information like I mentioned earlier, in a system that you can easily go into that is organized, and so by having a system like Evernote or Trello, and beginning to come part mentalize the things that line up with who you are and what would be relevant and a match for the opportunity that you're going after the interview that you'll have, is to begin to stock up your stories. So, to give you an example, if you are going in to interview and you've identified that the core competencies that they seek are sales, management and customer service and, you know, let's say one other thing, begin to bucket those into categories and begin to prepare three to four stories that would support you, your... would support and harness how you have those competencies, how you have those skill sets, and I say three to four stories because oftentimes, when somebody is interviewing you is asking you questions, they ultimately want to know, "does he or she have the skill?" "does he or she have this character trait?" does he or she have this value that mirrors and matches what I need for my star candidate?" And so by you being able to, rather than go into the interview, worrying about how to answer all the top 30 most commonly asked questions in an interview, by you being able to whittle it down into what is it that they seek in a candidate in terms of competencies, character, values, and strengths. And being able to create stories that would support that, it will be so much easier for you to go about pulling those stories out without saying the same thing if you have multiple stories, and they're just bucketed into the character, the values that are the traits that are sought by this employer.

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:43
You know, I think there's a couple of things that are valuable about that. One, I think when I met some people in the past, I've even been to things like job fairs and all kinds of things where they've got like interview prep going on in the next room and as I'm listening to them, they're having people prep for particular questions just like you said, like the 30 most common questions that are gonna show up in your interview and make sure that you've got all the answers perfect recited and on note cards. And as it turns out that isn't particularly effective because, first of all, what if they don't ask any of those questions? Even though it might be the most common then you're out of luck. So by prepping based on stories, and prepping based on those things that can be moved or shuffled to meet different situations, that's actually going to be more versatile than just prepping based on you know, those 30 most common questions like we talked about, so that's thing number one that I absolutely love and I think is incredibly valuable there. The second thing, I think that if you go into it, it focused on what they need, because that's what I hear you saying, focus on what it is that they want and need, then that creates a different mentality and a different mindset that you're going into entering that interview with. And you come off in a different way, whether you mean to or not, as well, and it comes off as more helpful, it comes off as more likeable and all the good things, and then puts you in a position towards the end to be able to really decide, "hey, is this something that I want or not? Not being again at their mercy." With those stories, first of all, let's talk about competencies really quick. That's an HR word. And let's break that down to what we mean for everybody when they hear that. So, how would you define competencies? What does that mean behind the scenes?

Evangelia LeClaire 23:40
It means the basic skills that are required to do the job. So when you look at an, a job description, it becomes very clear what is needed, like whether it's project management, whether it is data analysis, whether it is sales, that's what core competencies are. And so when most HR people, they write a job description, they base it off of the main core competencies. And so when you get good at identifying, well, what are the core competencies of the position? And you begin to figure out, how you can match your stories to really project that and support that, that's what we mean.

Scott Anthony Barlow 24:21
Okay, perfect. And what's really cool here is you can start to lose some of the stuff together too, because you mentioned earlier talking to people in the organization. So you can just go ahead and find out what those people think are going to be some of the most valuable skill sets are most important things that you bring to the table. So it's a way to cheat without cheating, or maybe cheats the wrong word, but it's a way to get that information up front. It's another way, yet another way to go in through the back door, if you will, and make sure that you're stacking the deck in your favor, not with malice with good intention. And once you have that, then that allows you to be able to prepare in the ways that you're talking about here. And I would say, okay, as you're thinking about those stories, what is the best way to prepare those stories? What does that look like in your experience?

Evangelia LeClaire 25:16
Yeah. So from my experience, sometimes it's really important to, depending on your personality type to sit down and just say, begin to mind your mind about well, what stories do I have? What experience do I have that I would be able to speak clearly about that support how I'm awesome at sales? Or so beginning to ask yourself that question and sometimes people need to talk that out. So that's why most people hire coaches for that. They need to help... they need the help of a coach to help them dig out those stories to help them refine and create a clear, concise story. And, you know, to really get it from a point that can be delivered concisely and consistently, there's a framework called STAR, which is star stories, it's being specific, or being able to describe this is an acronym, the Scenario, the Task, the Action, the Results.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:17
And if STAR is one too many letter to remember, there's also SBO, which is essentially the same thing, really, when you think about it, which is the "Situation" and then what was the "Behavior" that you exhibited and what was the "Outcome". But if you break down any story, even if you like, break down elements of Pixar films, you start to realize that there is this beginning, middle and end. And the beginning is essentially like, what is the situation? What is the problem? What is the thing that has tension? And what is the thing that's setting up the entire rest of the story? And then what is that thing that you did that impacted it in one way or another? And then what was the the outcome or the result or the learning or whatever else it might be? And if you start to break down any good stories, you start to realize that all of these different elements that you're talking about are there. So we want to do the exact same thing.

Evangelia LeClaire 27:14
Yeah, there's a fine line. Like you don't want to get too detailed in your stories so that you lose the person who's listening. And you want to be able to anchor in key words, you want to be able to frame it effectively so that people begin to, if you're losing them, if you have the right anchor and the right frame, they can really digest what it is you're sharing. And so there's an art to it. It's an art.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:40
There's a little bit of a loaded question, because I know there's probably 8 to 17 hours worth of answer to this. And I'm going to ask you to pack it into less than a minute or two. But yeah, I know. What are some guideposts that we can use to create relevant stories? And I want to talk a little bit about relevancy and how that factors in here.

Evangelia LeClaire 28:05
A lot of this will come through the work that you do beforehand. So by having connected with somebody at the company, that will help build you up. So that's a guidepost, I would say. That will help build you up to creating irrelevant story. Number two is knowing, again, what are the core competencies? What are the traits? What are the values of the company, and the position and the team? So that's a guidepost. The third would be, what really interests and entice the person that you're interviewing? What are some of those psychological triggers that you can bait into your story that will engage the person that you're interviewing with? So that comes with doing your research and gaining insight from having connected with the person via social media in a way that helps you prepare for a how you will communicate with that person, understanding what their style, their communication style is and how they receive information that can help be a guiding post to creating a story that the other person will retain and engage in. A fourth one would be, just to frame it effectively so that the person will receive information. So if they're asking you a specific question, such as, you know, tell me a time in which you made a significant impact in improving a team's performance, you'll be able to start with that frame, allow yourself some time to process in mind for the story that you're going to bring up. But to frame it that way, so that you're not just going right into it, and losing yourself and the person that's interviewing in the detail. So that's part of a frame, and then going into the situation, the behavior and the result. So that's a guidepost. Just the simple frame to help somebody process what it is you're saying and anchor in with the specifics to tell that story.

Scott Anthony Barlow 30:03
That is... I have so many things running through my head right now. But I think that that is those areas are where we have a tendency to get caught up, I get questions all the time like, well, should I bring in my, you know, should I bring in the fact that we both were on the crew team or, you know, should I tell them about my childhood? Or if we're talking at the beginning, what should I say during the beginning of that? And I would go back to much of what you said, which, if it's relevant to them, or if it's relevant to the position, or if it's relevant to the company, but most importantly, relevant to the people that you're talking to. Then that is a good guide work. It probably isn't relevant that you did a preschool prayed and dressed up as a monkey or something like that, during the preschool prayed in a way back in whatever year it happened to be, but it might be relevant if you're interviewing for a company, and that is in the fashion industry. And you have, you've... ever since you were a little kid, you were really interested in fashion. And all of a sudden, that piece is relevant. But it has to be within that right context like what you're talking about. So that would be an additional rule of thumb that I would throw out there is just saying, "Hey, is this really relevant for the person or position or...?" And if it's unlikely, leave it out. I want to dig into the tactics here and get really nitty gritty for just a minute because I know that when you, I've seen it in action, when you are getting into really helping somebody with the interview process and prepping and everything else, you get all kinds of nitty gritty technical on that, not technical maybe that's the wrong word for it, I know you break out Trello and you break out all of these other things. And, can you describe a little bit about what you're often doing with clients to help them prepare? And that way, people can get a behind the scenes idea of what they can do.

Evangelia LeClaire 32:18
Yeah, absolutely. So I do provide a Trello board that allows us to really begin to outline the key things about yourself, your values, your strengths, your personality type. And then we also build out the key strengths that you have that you want to put to work. And we also begin to match that up to what is sought out by the company that you'd be interviewing with, and we begin to outline your stories and so that's really the tactical piece. But you and I know Scott, that the the strategy, the tactics are about 20% of what's going to land you, the interview are just gonna enable you to succeed in life. And 80% of it, I believe is just your mindset and coming from that place of confidence. And I've recently had this awakening where it became very clear to me that confidence is a convergence of presence, and faith. And so when you can go about and so a lot of, I guess what I'll now divert into saying is, as much as I can put out these tactics and strategies and frameworks to help support people, many times clients need more work on the mindset going back to that, and it's about coming from that place where you can get present and comfortable in believing that all of the strengths and the equity that you've built in your career thus far, will help you connect the dots to the future that is an alignment to you pursuing what's greater for you, what's more fulfilling to you. So for career changers, there's more anxiety about that, because they can't often see the congruency or the connecting of the dots quite yet. And that's why it's important to work with a coach because somebody like myself, who has a bird's eye view, and can help you connect the dots can also help you pull out those key stories. But first, the confidence needs to be there, which is why we go back into the foundational piece. So to answer your question, a lot of what we're talking about is just circling back to what we first started, which is foundation, mindset, and then strategy tactics framework for carving out these key stories, as they are relevant to the future opportunities. And so because so much junk is going through our brain, with all of this, I like to outline it into a visual clear framework using a system like Trello.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:01
What might that Trello look like? Describe that. And then, I'd love to, one of the things I'm totally going to ask you for is see if we can get some screenshots of that. That way, people can go over to happentoyourcareer.com/216 and be able to see a visual of what that can look like, and be able to download that.

Evangelia LeClaire 35:24
Yeah. Okay. So the Trello board as an example, first, we start with my Trello board has a PDF article about the STAR framework, or you called it the SBO, right? A famework is just an article to help you like read and understand what that is. And then there's, we outline, okay, well, what are the core competencies from the job description and I create several lists or what we call buckets, where all of these would be categorized. So if it's consultative sales, we'd have a consultative sales, consultative sales bucket and then I might cue in some questions that fall within that category of consultative sales such as, you know, give me an example of a time when you didn't meet a client's expectation, what happened? And how did you attempt to solve this? So and then I would suggest, I'll just put like two or three questions that are relevant to that competency. And then I would have three additional cards that I would write out as with SBO, or STAR story, to prompt the person that I'm working with to begin to write out their story in alignment with that framework, whether it's SBO, or the STAR framework.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:36
That storytelling framework, and it really doesn't matter with time.

Evangelia LeClaire 36:38
Yeah, exactly.

Scott Anthony Barlow 36:40
Using that framework is gonna make it much easier. So, what then?

Evangelia LeClaire 36:44
So we'll have out our buckets of the categories that are relevant to the position and then we'll begin to write out, you don't have to write out the whole story, but just at least like the outline of what it is, that's actually much better than actually writing out the story itself, 'cause then you'll get very scripted and you'll sound real. Like you'll sound scripted and that's never done in an interview.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:06
And I went to the grocrey store.

Evangelia LeClaire 37:09
Oh, yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 37:09
And then it... Yeah, don't do that.

Evangelia LeClaire 37:11
Yeah, no way. So we'll write out, you know, maybe three to four of the core skills. We'll write out your preference and how you'd like somebody, will outline out, how you would like to be managed or led. We'll write out your leadership and management style, we'll write out what are your core values. And we'll write out the things that really are aligned or outlined, the things that are aligned with the values, the mission, the work ethic, and the culture that you are pursuing, will write out in their own separate buckets, your strengths, so I have a bucket for strengths and you know, with the Strength Finders test, there's about five key strengths that come out. So we would write those out in their own buckets, and we would pull from the Strength Finders Assessment Test, I would challenge you to pull out from your Strength Finders Assessment Test the phrases that can really roll off your tongue easily when you talk about yourself as it relates to your strengths. So that might be able to come out in an interview, then I would also challenge you to think about how your strengths have ever not worked or how they've conflicted in the workplace, how they've worked against you, how they may have been perceived as a weakness, so that you can use your strength to talk about it from a place of how it was a challenge for you in the workplace.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:34
I love that. And anybody who's been listening to this show for any length of time and knows that we talk about, we don't talk about weaknesses, we're not worried about weaknesses, quite frankly, we don't care about weaknesses because people are successful because of their strengths, not because of minimizing their weaknesses, but even further is just the spin that you had just put on it in terms of being able to talk about that weaknesses question from a place of, what we'll call, anti strengths or the shadow side of your strengths, if you will. Everybody has strengths. And that makes you predisposed to be great in some areas, and also causes you to be less great in other areas, but it's caused from that strength. So absolutely love that. So then what, first of all, I love that. What you just guided us through here, I think whether it's on a Trello board, or whether you're pulling those points out one by one and going 123 here, that is actually a really amazing process to be able to go through and prep and really just outlined all of the other things that we've talked about during this conversation. So thank you for that. And we are so getting a screenshot so you can visually see that and what that looks like. Go over to happentoyourcareer.com/216 it's 216, and then you'll be able to see a visual of that and get an idea for how to better prep. To your point though, Evangelia is so much easier to do this with another person. Because we, well, if you're like me, then what I say, either sounds really good, and I don't know that it's bad or vice versa. I'm thinking, Oh, my goodness, I cannot do that, right. And I'm usually on one side of the scale or another. And I know other people have been in similar places too. You don't... you can't see your blind spots, or you don't know how good something is, until you have that validation and feedback. One thing I do want to hit though, before we end here, although, and we talked about the 30 most common questions that might be asked in interviews or anything else like that, and we don't want you preparing for those 30 most common questions because that's not a useful or effective way to spend your time prepping. But one thing that always happens is there's always a start or an introduction to the interview, in one way or another. And that might kick off with a question like, tell me about yourself or that might just happen more organically. And I'm curious how would you advise people to start off or even introduce yourself in an interview or handle that beginning set of questions in the interview where it has a tendency to be more open ended and we don't want people sharing the monkey that they were in the preschool prayed back in wherever it is.

Evangelia LeClaire 41:32
Yeah. So three things that you'll want to, maybe three... So instead, that there's so much about us, we know already. There's so much to who you are, what you've done and what you can bring forward. But don't keep it, don't bring more than three things about yourself forward. And those three things that you're bringing forward, need to harness some values, character traits, or skills that the interviewer may seek in their ideal candidate. So as an example, I once worked, I recently worked with somebody who came abroad, came back from being away and being on a study abroad. And so well, what does that speak? What does that say about her? It says that she's adventurous. She's, you know, she's able to go about in the face of adversity. So that's one of the things that we brought forward. So tell me about yourself, "well, you know, I, you know, I am this and I actually recently just came about from studying abroad. And travel is something that I love to do." So my point is being able to talk about an experience that you've had, or things that you value that have the underpinnings of a trait, a character, a skill that is relevant to the job. So framing it such as you know, I add this and bringing forward three things about yourself that, like I said, really support what this candidate, what this interviewer may seek in in their ideal candidate.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:09
I love that. And I think that, to your point, the three things, I think that's useful. And I think any framework, honestly, then there's a number of frameworks out there that we've suggested in the past. And I honestly think that all of them are great, I think it's more important to go into this beginning portion of the interview with some type of framework that you're comfortable with. And you can use the one that you just mentioned, and I think that'll work particularly well. I've seen it, I've worked with people where that has worked particularly well, you can use another popular one that we recommend all the time is the present, past and future. And that can sound something like "hey, currently I'm a (and then insert here) where I get to do..." and describing the things that you get to do that are relevant to the current job going back to that relevancy piece that you pointed out earlier. And before that, here's what I did, and again, inserting those relevant traits and relevant experiences. And in the future, I want to... you know, so that's even another framework where you're focusing on those relevant skills and experiences and that's another way to take it. But I think the important part here is that you're using a framework like that so that you are comfortable with it, and that you're tailoring those those relevant pieces that you feel good about yourself that are leveraging some of those great experiences or skills or other things that you have. And that's allowing you to present your best self as you're showing up there.

Evangelia LeClaire 44:41
Yeah, agreed. And that framework, the past, present, or future is part of the framework that I would coach people through within the context of the three stories that are relevant. So sorry if I wasn't clear on that, but I totally agree with you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 44:56
And I think that, that is great, and honestly, it isn't... to your point earlier, I don't know there's probably five or six more frameworks that I would recommend to be really honest. But, none of those actually matter. To your point earlier, you mentioned it's much more about understanding yourself being able to understand yourself in a way to where you can articulate this stuff. Because those tools, those tactics, those frameworks, they don't mean jack, you can't apply them in a way that is going to be useful to you. And, you know, that's what happens to people sometimes they're like, "oh, I used that, you know, present past future framework, and it just didn't work for me." Well, that means that probably something was missing in either the knowing about yourself or the application part of or that process that leads up to that which are prerequisites. I, very much appreciate you taking us all through this and giving us some behind the scenes as to how you help people prepare for interviews and get very, very clear on how to come off in an authentic way during those interviews, this is phenomenal.

Evangelia LeClaire 46:08
Thank you. It's my pleasure. I love talking about this stuff, helping people through this.

Scott Anthony Barlow 46:13
Hey, I really hope you enjoyed that. If you're ready to create and live a life that is unapologetically you, I want you to check out our ultimate guide to using your strengths to get hired, find your signature strengths, to be able to do what you love, what you're good at, and bring value to your clients, your customers, your organization, and everybody else and we teach you how to be able to leverage that too. So all you have to do for that, is you can pause right now and text MYSTRENGTHS. That's MYSTRENGTHS, plural, to 44222. Or you can go over to happentoyourcareer.com and click on Resources and find the Strengths Guide. I think you're gonna love it.

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