The job interview you’ve been preparing for is over and you can now relax – except now comes the hard part: waiting for feedback. Related: Should You Apply For A Job You're Not Fully Qualified For? One way to increase the odds of landing your dream job is to follow up in a professional manner. During and after the interview process, you want to come across as interested without appearing to be desperate or needy. I realize it could be frustrating to wait a couple of weeks if you’re actively interviewing, but the interview process could easily take a couple of months. The employer has to get through ALL the interviews and decide if they have enough good candidates to choose from. Even if they feel good about you, sometimes they might have to interview internal candidates who’ve applied at the last minute or another external candidate has applied and needs to be scheduled for an interview. I remember one situation where a job seeker had a good interview and we have given her a timeline of 7-10 days of waiting for feedback as she was the first out of six candidates to be interviewed. She was very keen on the job so every day she waited must have seemed like eternity. She’s decided to try to push for some feedback and emailed not just myself (twice!) but also the hiring manager. The hiring manager responded explaining that the decision wouldn’t be made for another 10 days, as previously discussed. Now, the candidate was worried that she’s ruined her chances of getting the job by appearing too eager, and not listening when being informed of the process. Not listening could be a turn off to a prospective employer. Is this what she’ll be like as an employee? If you’re the employer’s top choice, this probably won’t lose you the job but you might want to think a bit more carefully about the style and frequency of your post interview follow up. A great approach is to ask the interviewer about their timeline for making a decision before you leave the interview. This will help you to time your follow up attempts. A quick thank you email emphasizing your interest in the role is always a good touch. If the company hasn't given a timeline, it's best to wait at least a week before following up. Don’t annoy the recruiter or the hiring manager with constant calls or emails. If you’re following up multiple times after each interview, that’s likely not appreciated. However, if the company has given you a set time frame and exceeded it by longer than a week, a well-written follow up note is reasonable. This note should be concise and use the time frame provided as the reason for your follow up. You might want to say something along the lines of: "I know you mentioned you were hoping to make a final hiring decision by the end of April, and I wanted to follow up and see where you are in that process." In summary – do follow up to continue to show your enthusiasm for the position, but don’t make it seem as though you are desperate. In your thank you letter, do show appreciation for the employer's interest in you and do remind the employer about why you are the perfect person for the position. Finally, don't stop job hunting, even if you feel confident that you will get a job offer. Do continue to interview and attempt to find other opportunities until you get an offer. If you want to find out about what other mistakes candidates make that prevent them from getting hired and about how to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job, sign up for my free 5-day ‘You’re HIRED!’ video course. This post was originally published at an earlier date
Public speaking can’t always be avoided in the business world when you’re tapped on the shoulder to give a presentation to your peers or to an important client.
Even in the age of home video conferencing, it’s still very natural to feel like you’d rather do ANYTHING other than turn on that camera, take a deep breath, and feel everyone’s eyes on you…watching.
Ever wonder how actors push through stage fright?
As a trained actor and coach (prior to entering the business world), I’ve learned to not be timid while orating Shakespeare in the spotlight or when hitting those high notes in front of thousands of eyeballs.
Not surprisingly, the same tricks actors use can be applied to public speaking in a business context. Here are some tips from an actor-turned-business-professional on calming your nerves.
Tip #1: Put Yourself In The Audience’s Seats
I always get incredibly nervous right before a singing audition. I’ve found what helps lessen my anxiety is to do as a fellow performer once suggested and put myself in the director’s chair. (The director is typically the person who decides if you are cast in the show).
The director WANTS you to do well! They want you to be the perfect person for the role—able to garner good reviews and box office sales. They want you to do so well that they could even tell everyone else to go home; they’ve found their star.
Plus, no director wants to sit through hours and hours of bad singing auditions…would you?
Likewise with public speaking.
When have you ever found yourself listening to a speaker and wished that they would be boring? Or wanted them to bomb so badly that you get nothing from their talk?
Rather, you probably hope the speaker is so dynamite that you actually forget to take notes because you are so transfixed and inspired by their message.
Know that the audience is on your side and let that encourage you. They want you to do well.
Tip #2: Give ‘Em The Old Razzle-Dazzle
I love to tap dance. Sometimes (ok, quite often), my feet don’t move as quickly as they should and I mess up a step or two…or ten.
A choreographer once taught me that a major part of dancing, and where the audience usually focuses, is all in the face and arms. If you are smiling a 1,000-watt smile and making grand arm gestures, the audience isn’t likely to see that your feet messed up that paradiddle step. (Yes, that’s a real thing!)
Public speaking also follows this rule. The audience can’t tell that you are nervous and feel like you just might pass out.
Bluff it! Put on your smile and stand tall. Walk with purpose and speak with authority, even if you feel unsure of yourself. It can feel weird, but you have to trust me here.
When you act as if you are confident, the audience will assume you are confident. Your body will even convince your brain into believing that you are, in fact, confident!
What if you DO mess up? So what? Keep going! Don’t drop your poise and strong voice, as they are effectively drawing attention away from any insecurities that may come up, just like jazz hands can help cover for missing a step-shuffle-ball-change.
Tip #3: Enter The Clown
Actors have learned that mistakes are bound to happen and sometimes you have to play the fool.
For instance, props or scenery may break or fall unexpectedly during a show. Actors are taught to pretend like it is supposed to happen, and work it into the scene. Or they may quickly remove the wayward item and simply continue on.
I’ve even witnessed actors stumble and fall onstage, then make a comment about what a klutz they are (in character, of course!) and continue on like it was scripted that way.
Let’s say during your speech you trip up on some words unexpectedly. Work it into the presentation as if you meant for it to happen. For example: “The biggest finanbial chamanges…a-hem, well those lesser-known things…as well as the biggest financial challenges we face are…”
Call yourself out and you get an on-the-spot joke to lighten the mood—and the audience loves you for it.
Or let’s say you knock over your glass of water while speaking. That’s the perfect time to make a crack about how uncoordinated you are and why you never made the basketball team. (*Rimshot please!*)
Tip #4: “Once Again From The Top, Ah-5-6-7-8!”
Actors spend hours, days…weeks! memorizing their lines to be “word perfect” right down to the smallest pause. They get every tilt of the head, every gesture, and every single word into muscle memory.
When opening night comes, no matter how much their stomach is turning over like they’re on a cruise ship in a hurricane, they can effectively put themselves on autopilot and get through the show without a hitch.
Now, with this tip, I would NEVER recommend that you, as a public speaker, go to the extremes actors do.
Why? Memorizing isn’t necessary for public speaking. In fact, I strongly suggest you don’t memorize, as you risk coming off as “fake.”
Rehearsing on the other hand is a must!
Rehearse in front of a mirror…while shopping for groceries…in front of a friend. Video or audio record yourself and play it back.
If possible, practice in the actual space where you will be speaking (yes, even if it’s in your home office) to get a feel for it so that it doesn’t disorient you on the big day.
Your goal is to know your main points and examples while allowing yourself to improvise here and there with different words and phrases to keep it fresh.
If you try to memorize and you forget a sentence while speaking, it has the tendency to really trip you up unless you’re a seasoned pro. However, if you practice experimenting with different ways of saying things, you’re building your quick-thinking prowess and ability to handle the unexpected while in the spotlight.
Notes are, of course, perfectly acceptable, but you don’t want to stay buried in your notes resulting in never making eye contact with the audience (or webcam).
Another no-no is clearly reading from a script while on a video conference. Reading a script is one of the best ways to disengage the audience unless you are very good at making it sound conversational…a tough skill to master.
Instead, know your speech so well that glancing at the first few words on a notecard will propel you into that part of the speech, without having to constantly refer to your notes.
Remember that public speaking is one fear that, with a little practice and the right mindset, can be overcome. Who knows, you may start to crave the spotlight so much that I’ll see you at the next audition!