These are advanced interview techniques that came to mind after reading this very good article on the basics of interview prep. H/T to Major Lindsey & Africa.
ROLE PLAY – If you are currently employed, and you are taking an interview for a new job, leave behind your current job title and company affiliation, leave behind your frustration with the corporate expense report software, leave behind your favorite client account. Leave it behind and be a clean slate to write a whole new direction. If you aren’t employed, leave behind your “unemployed” identity. Be fully present so you can try on your new identity. What does it feel like to be in this new role, company, team?
WIFM? – The person across the table from you believes you have something of value to them, whether its skills, information or relationships. Be clear about what you are going to do for them and this company – what can you do, right now, today? If you aren’t sure point your questions to show you are finding a place to add value, ask about other team members and their strengths, ask about the direction of the product or services, ask about the efficiency of their workflow. Ask directly what is the pain/need on the team today? How can you make a contribution, and will it make you more valuable in the future?
PRETEND YOU HAVE THE JOB ON MONDAY – The interviewer is desperately hoping you are the person to fill this job. They want you to be the one to put an end to this search. Act as if you are going to start on Monday. In sales this is called a presumptive close. I don’t mean, act cocky. I mean, put yourself in the situation – you can even use the words, “So if I started on Monday…” to direct your questions, to present your value “I would do…” Can you succeed on Monday?
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF – Some candidates I talk to, even senior ones, can get insistent on vacation days, pay increases, commutes, working hours or working from home policies. This is especially true if you have established credibility in a position which has allowed you some flexibility to shape these elements of your work-life. Set aside these issues, until you are in a position to negotiate them. The more you leave open (un-anchor) the more leverage you'll have on the things that matter to you. If it’s a no-work-from-home blanket policy you should know that, but during your interviews you should shy away from specifics and avoid appearing demanding. Wait to demand when you have leverage. Then you are free to ask, "What really matters?", in the offer negotiation.
All four of these techniques will help you un-anchor from the labels, limitations and expectations you are putting on yourself today, and allow you to fully experience an interview as a future employee.