Career Program – 6. Slam Dunk Interview

Slam Dunk Interview
Slam Dunk Interview

Be Focused. Be Strong.
Follow the Advice. Practice Makes Perfect.

Slam Dunk Interview

Research the company heavily before the interview. What other job postings do they have? Perhaps, there’s another for you. Read on LinkedIn how long the interviewer has been with the company. Where did they work before? Do you have anything or anyone in common? If so, diplomatically let them know.

Get a Success Attitude

Before an interview or presentation, isn’t your mind flooded with a power surge of things you should and shouldn’t do? Pay attention to those signals and let them be your guide. Allow your memories of success to boost your confidence and keep you on track.

See yourself as an evolving individual moving towards success. Remember:

  1. Yes, you’ve made mistakes. Own them, and show growth.
  2. Yes, you’ve had wins. Be proud of them. Discuss them openly as facts, not feelings, and you will be in command.
  3. No, you’re not there yet. So what? Move over the world; you’re charging ahead.

Your Sales Pitch

All employers use certain practices to select their no. 1 candidate. Why not slam dunk your interview by learning how to win approval and be chosen?

You can practice independently or create a role-play scenario: interviewer vs. jobseeker. It may sound a bit goofy–the idea of talking to a mirror or embarrassing yourself in front of a friend or relative–but it’s worth your time. Follow these five steps; it may mean hearing a “yes” instead of a “no!”

Before you walk into the interview, discard all the reasons it won’t work. Think only about why it will work:

• Practice walking. Press your feet/toes firmly into the ground. This action builds self-confidence. It even works with high heels! The noise from your shoes diminishes, and it looks professional.
• Think positive thoughts about yourself.
• Look into the interviewers’ eyes and firmly shake their hand.

Critique Yourself

Is your look self-confident? Are there any feelings of inadequacy? If so, your “defensive chip” will weaken your image. Stay positive!

Your introduction sentence(s), or “elevator pitch,” is essential. You need to introduce the pertinent bits about yourself with zero hesitation instantly. Take your time. Craft an “Intro Sentence” that says who you are. Practice it over and over.

Even though you practice it ahead of time, it likely won’t come out the same way. If you own the sentence as who you are, it will come out better even than when you had practiced!(Not owning your career path? Click here: Color Career Indicator 4.1)

To start drafting your intro sentence, think:
• Why are you of value to the company? Explain your contribution.
• Why will your contribution benefit the company? Be specific.
• Use only one sentence. No run-on phrases! It isn’t your life story; it’s why the company needs you in particular.
• Finally, say it repeatedly until it becomes almost conversational, and you can recite it with little effort.


“I’m a high-volume email marketer looking for an opportunity to invigorate a cross-channel marketing campaign and ultimately maximize revenue.”

Critique Yourself:

Was the intro sincere? Was it about you or them? If it was all about you, you’re not bringing value to a job/situation, and others won’t hear you.

After the interviewer replies, tell them your actual contribution specifically. This phrase should be:

• Why you are needed more than the others interviewed. Don’t mention a specific job skill unless you know there is an opening. Don’t get placed into a position where there is no job!

• Make your pitch all about the organization; put it in their terms and context. Tell them you enjoyed reading… mention an area where they excel against competition.

• Finally, sell yourself; now is not the time for modest. Why are you their best choice? What unique elements do you contribute?

Comeback Sentence Example:

Sell Your Skills Here.

“I enjoyed checking out your company website. I especially enjoyed reading about the XYZ area. It’s what I want to do. My experience/degree/ knowledge of XYZ will help me uniquely solve the problems faced by this role.” Ask others if they buy-in? If not, what needs to be said?

Critique Yourself:

Make sentences short. Are you able to present yourself? Are you talking too fast? Do you pause at the end of a thought? Be careful. Don’t say two different benefits in one sentence; they won’t hear either. Pause after conclusive statements. Avoid emotions.

Interviewers are experts at reading body language. Sometimes it comes down to “I just didn’t feel good about hiring that person,” no explanation required.

• Firm handshakes are essential: not a floppy grip, for sure, but good grief, not a bone-crusher, either! The gesture is a greeting, not a contest.

• See the Interviewer as a person you like. Repeat in your mind over and over what characteristics you like about them. Surprisingly, they will like you too!

• Whatever you’re thinking, the interviewer is seeing in your body language. So think positive thoughts! Think about why you like the job, why you want to join the company, and the many ways you’re qualified, and it will come out.

• And, of course, be yourself. Be friendly and attentive. Or you will be forgotten when you walk out the door.

Critique Yourself:

Test your handshake. Be honest with feedback. Have a mock interview and ask: is there positive attentive energy? What about positive and progressive thoughts?

This step is vital. Show your interviewer, with your closing, that you’re professional. If you forget to close, chances are you lost the moment.

  1. Ask for their card (If you don’t already have it), then stand up and say, “Thank you for your time.”
  2. Make a plan to follow up: “I find your company very exciting/something of real interest to me/my dream career. I’ll connect with you next Tuesday.” (Then call or email them on Tuesday, right when they get to work.)
  3. Send an email thank you note that same day. It might make all the difference.

Critique Yourself:

Did you sound like you want to work? Did you look the interviewer in the eye and give them a solid handshake?

So, you know all the steps! Now prove you want the job. Show them you have the willpower and discipline to follow up. Be forthright. Maximize your interview and networking hire-ability.

  1. After the interview, follow up immediately. The faster you send a “Thank You Email,” the better the chances that they’ll remember you. So, email them right back!
  2. Check-in with the interviewer weekly. Follow up with them very early, right when they get to work. Studies have proven more positive decisions are made in the early morning (Zahl, September 2011). It also shows you’ll be a punctual employee. Asking for a job early morning can in itself land you a job!
  3. Don’t stop with one follow-up either. Eighty percent of all job hires are completed on the fifth follow-up or subsequent follow-up phone calls or emails.