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Every Conference, a few JMO candidates lose some interviews due to immature communication. This is disappointing because it is completely avoidable. I debated whether or not to write this post, because in reality, I feel I should not even have to address this. However, during an Interview Preparation Workshop this week, two candidates used inappropriate language, so, I figured if I put this out on the web, I can save some candidates from silly mistakes.
First, Cameron-Brooks clients are recruiting those who have the ability and desire to rise to top leadership positions in Corporate America. Thus, they want candidates who are mature, demonstrating the ability to communicate with a wide variety of people (customers, suppliers, management, line personnel, peers, etc.). Slang, cursing, and overuse of military phrases will cause the recruiters to rule a candidate out. To avoid being ruled out in an interview due to silly communication mistakes, follow these simple rules:
- Assume you are interviewing with your boss’ boss or an O-6 and above level officer. Would you say “Awesome”, “Cool!” or “Too easy,” to an O-6? Probably not, and you should not say them to a recruiter either.
- No swearing! I was in the military one time too, and yes, I know that it is part of the culture and probably even more so in deployments. It has no place in an interview and swearing is an automatic rule out. I guarantee it. Also, I not only mean the typical swear words but those words we all use in their place and think we aren’t actually swearing. They are just as bad in an interview, and at home and in the office too!
- Watch your military phrases. The one that gets me is, “Too easy.” This is mostly addressed to the Army JMOs. Now, I have never heard of a candidate actually saying it in an interview, but maybe this will get them to stop saying it to me!
- Be specific and say what you mean with depth. Specifically I am addressing demonstrating interest in an interview. Instead of saying “that’s great”, “awesome,” or “cool,” be specific in what interests you about the topic, company, industry or position. “I am very interested in company ABC because of your innovation demonstrated by your worldwide launch of Six Sigma last year. I like continuous improvement.” That is communicating interest!
- Do not say, “To be honest with you…” On occasion accidently say this, so I need to work on it as well. When you say this, you are communicating that up until that point, you have been less than honest! Yet, what you really wanted to do was emphasize the following point. You communicate much more specifically and clearly when you eliminate the phrase and just say what you mean.
- Demonstrate mature body language. This past week I had a potential JMO candidate sit across from with his arms crossed for 25 minutes. What did that tell me? I assumed he had no interest or he did not care what I had to say. Other times, I have had candidates slouch in their chair or have their legs spread way to far apart. Again, how would you sit across from an O-6?
If you are going to interview with leading companies for development positions, professional recruiters will evaluate you not only on your professionalism, but on your maturity as well. Do not waste precious interviews – use your common sense and be a professional communicator.