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Second Interview Tips

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by canopener, Jul 30, 2005.


  1. canopener

    canopener

    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    So, last week I had an interview at a conservation district the next county over. It went over really well. So much, I was invited back for a second interview this coming Friday. Out of 17 applicants, I was one of seven interviewed, and one of three coming back for a second interview.

    The meat of the second interview is a 5-10 minute persuasive speech to the interviewers on an environmental issue of my choice. I've already narrowed my topic down, and plan on molding the presentation around the District's mission statement.

    I'm pretty excited, and I really think I have a good shot at the position that I'm going for, and I'd like to get some tips and stories from you guys.

    I'm brushed up on the typical interview stuff, like "make sure you get a haircut and wear a suit," yada yada yada, but I'd like to hear about your 'second interview' experiences.

    :bassist:
     
  2. canopener

    canopener

    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I *think* I've got a good edge, but I don't know what I'm up against. This is really the first interview I've had that relates to my field of study (geography), and this is my first 'second' interview. I think I really clicked well with these guys, I just don't want to have any horrible mistakes on my part that'll drop me out of consideration...

    Right now, I'm trying to convert one of my previous projects into a persuasive speech...something I already know about and something that is related to the position.

    Anything else to add, people?
     
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I do alot of public speaking. Here are some random thoughts. I tried to keep them organized. :)

    During your speech, avoid like the plague word whiskers. Words like "uhh", "um", "ahh", "ya know", "so ahhh", "OK then", you get the point. Speak with confidence, but don't treat your audience like six year olds. Maintain eye contact with everyone listening. If you're nervous, don't tell them. Saying stuff like "I'm really nervous right now, I've never done this before", makes you look weak. Only use words in your speech that you can pronounce properly, and fully understand the meaning. Don't add in fancy words like "utilize" unless they are truly a daily part of your speech. Deliver the speech in a normal tone, with your average daily vocabulary. Filling it up with big words that you really never use will only make you look stupid. Speak with a passion, but not fanatically. Don't make big promises on things you have no intentions of actually doing. Look for a good illustration to add to your material. Don't make it elaborate or confusing. Simple and to the point work best. Something the audience can easily relate to.

    Don't go buck wild on your gestures. Descriptive gestures are nice, just like emphatic. Choose them wisely, and don't turn them into nervous twitches. If you are standing up, keep your hands OUT of your pockets, and don't constantly touch your face, or stand with your arms folded. Maintain an open stance and turn to the person you are addressing. Don't lean on the podium, or fidget with anything in your hands. If you wear glasses, don't fidget with them, or any jewelry on your hands.

    Know your material well. Know it so well that if you dog REALLY DOES eat your notes right before you leave, you can still give the speech. Speak from the heart, and keep your emotions under control. Never let them see you sweat.

    -Mike
     
  4. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I've done some public speaking too, although the largest group was only about 150 people :)

    MJ knows his stuff! I'd only add a simple rule on how to act: you're the expert on your speech, not them - show some authority.

    Remember the speech so well you don't even have to look at the paper. In fact, personally I don't like to try to remember a speech in the whole at all: I make a list of key topics and key points underneath each topic, in the progression where I want my speech to go to. After this, I practice the speech by speaking it out loud a few times, and see if I have to add some extra key points or good sentences to remember. The idea here is simple: less text you have, less you have to stare at the paper. Audience contact is the most important thing - oh, and do remember to address the whole group, and make sure you speak loud enough.

    Oh, and you feel nervous, right? The other people notice only 5% of what you feel and about 5% of the mistakes too. I've done long speeches where I felt I was shaking and fumbling all the time, only to have more experienced, even professional speakers to come to me afterwards to tell how great they thought it went. It's just like at a gig: no matter how large mistake you make, just keep on pushing, a wrong note won't spoil the whole show.
     
  5. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I teach public speaking for my day job. The other guys have good advice so I'll only add a few things.

    - Smile, even if you're talking about an environmental problem, you want to smile at appropriate points because your speech has potential to cause positive changes.

    - Be very organized. A classic persuasive org. pattern is I. Problem II. Solution. You can also do I. Problem II. Cause III. Solution. Have one basic idea (your thesis or residual message) that the whole speech is designed to support, i.e. "Millfoil is a growing problem in our county lakes, and my research shows that stocking them with Piranha is the best solution."

    - Give them a simple handout that has your outline and bibliography on it.

    - Consider designing some simple visual aids. Practice with them so you get used to *not* looking at them, they are for the audience, not you.
     
  6. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Good point. An outline is much easier to work with than a manuscript.

    -Mike
     
  7. Lots of good advice. I like the "simple" visual aids part that jondog mentioned. It keeps the audience involved and you are giving them something, which helps sets the atmosphere. I put quotation marks around the simple part because I made the mistake a couple years ago of moving from overhead slides to Powerpoint and it was a disaster (from my viewpoint) the first time I tried to use it. I was very well prepared in the office, then when it came time to load up at the speech site, the computer wouldn't let me log on. I had to work from my outline and provide verbal descriptions of what the slides were supposed to demonstrate; however, the confusion really left me flustered. Good thing I like jazz because that was a major improv opportunity.
     
  8. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    That's a good point. I once was at a engineering student conference where one of the topics was presentation skills. The very first rule we were given was quite simple:

    "1) Make sure your presentation is ready, and 2) make sure it's on your laptop before you leave for the speech. And 3) make sure you have it somewhere safe where you can download it if you lose it. And 4) be sure you have a back-up copy on a disc with you if the web access doesn't work. And 5) make sure you have it on plastic so you can project it if the computer doesn't work. And 5) be sure you have chalks and markers if the projector blows. And, finally, 6) be sure to be there half an hour earlier, so you can go through all these steps AND pull it off without anyone knowing a thing!" :D
     
  9. Case in point, a local anchorman, Bill Bonds, reportedly had a drinking problem, big time. He was just back from a "vacation" and was doing a story on drug abuse.

    He actually said "hypodeemic nerdles" at one point. Hesitated for a fraction of a second, and barely missing a beat, continued with the story as if nothing happened. BRAVO!! BRAVISSIMO!!!

    He became my hero that day. Never give up. Never surrender.

    Randy
     
  10. canopener

    canopener

    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Hey, thanks for all the replies, guys!
     
  11. Remember that you know what you're talking about and have spent time thinking about it. They may be approaching what you have to say cold. So start the presentation by giving some background to what the issue is, why it's worth considering and what the key points are that you're going to address. If you jump in with lots of technical stuff you're going to lose them and will need to spend time explaining that stuff anyway.

    Keep it simple - imagine you're trying to explain it to your grandmother / daughter / significant other. If you show a graph or a table then make sure it's clear, concise and not crammed with stuff that's illegible from more than a yard away. I *Hate* it when people say "Now I know this is a busy graph..." or "You're not supposed to be able to read everything on this graph..." THEN DON'T BOTHER SHOWING US IT!! If you do show a graph or a table, make sure that you highlight by pointing, shading or colour the bits that are really central to your argument. If you have a graph or table stand at the back of the room and make sure it's still legible. Avoid clutter in tables or graphs.

    If you get a tricky question that you don't know the answer to, don't be afraid to say "I'm not sure that I know the answer to that, but let me try to answer as best I can..." then answer it and ask if that has answered their point. You can always go back for further clarification... If somebody interupts with a question that you think will be answered later in the presentation, don't be afraid to defer that question until later. Saying something like "Can I leave that question for now, and if I haven't addressed it by the end of the presentation perhaps we could re-address the point?" That way it doesn't interupt the flow of your presentation too much. It's distracting to jump around in the presentation. You run the risk of losing people.

    [EDIT] Oooh - MOST important: take the amount of time in your presentation (in minutes), multiply by 0.7. That's the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM number of slides you should have. i.e. For a 10 minute presentation, bank on showing no more than 7 slides. Stick to your time rigidly. There's nothing worse than a 10 minute presentation that goes on for 20, or a candidate that appears for a 10 minute presentation with 40 slides.... :rollno: [/EDIT]

    Know what you know, but don't be afraid to admit what you don't know. Bullsh!tting scores big minus points. Remember that you will be under evaluation throughout the interview period. If you are offered an "informal" chat with members of staff then they're still taking notes. Don't suddenly start ripping on the CEO for their choice of tie / admit how drunk you were at the weekend. Be polite and courteous. Ask question about the job, responsibilities, expectations etc. Interviewers like to see candidates expressing an interest in the job (believe it or not!).

    Good luck!
    Mike
     
  12. giantjerk

    giantjerk

    Jan 18, 2003
    Allen, TX
    At the end of the interview ask to be hired for the job. Most applicants and interviewees never do this. Those that do more often than not get the job, even against more qualified applicants. I'll hire a bright motivated person any day over a lazy genius.
     
  13. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Good point. When asked the typical "When can you start?" question, let them know you came in ready to work. I usually reply with "Just as soon as we finish the interview".

    -Mike