Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Find Something You Have in Common

When you think about it, it can be amazing what we can learn from every day occurrences that happen around us. For example, recently my daughter started eighth grade. Overnight she seemed to be grasping at some sort of transformation that frankly absolutely puzzled me. This is a child that operates under the “I’m my own person” philosophy. Great sense of humor. Creative. Incredible natural athlete. Marches to her own drummer. Then came eighth grade. Something changed. The kid that would rather wear her hair pulled back in a pony, wear baggy basketball shorts and T-shirt with something basketball related on it tossed it all to the side. No more pony. Skinny jeans, etc., etc.

But the transition did not come without challenges. I could sense she was not 100% comfortable with the new look. But then again, being a teenager she was not one to come running to us to share her inner most feelings and thoughts. So we could only feel as though there was something not quite right. Perhaps we are fortunate, however, as given enough time she typically will share with us. Fortunately she did this time as well. It wasn't just about her wanting to change her image. Instead it was more about searching for a common thread that would link her to others at school that dressed a certain way. A way she typically did not dress. It wasn’t about fitting in but about searching for something she could have in common.

What a perfect reminder to me of a technique I had not thought much about for quite some time. Okay, so allow me to make this relevant to you as a job seeker. You have an interview scheduled. You’ve done your research. You have a level of comfort about the company and their business and their products. You have a level of comfort regarding the position you are interviewing for and your experiences and skills as they relate to the role. You have your resume and references ready. You have your interview attire ready to go. All prepared for a successful interview. How about a little tidbit that just might help as you enter the office of the interviewer? Sure, who wouldn’t want that, right? Here’s where it all relates. As you enter the office quickly scan the walls, shelves and desk. Often times you will see photos or items that will identify something you & the interviewer have in common. Perhaps it’s kids. Perhaps it’s fishing, golf, boating. It could be any number of things. But if you can quickly identify such a common interest it can make a great ice breaker to kick things off.

“I see you enjoy boating. Do you get out on the lake much? Where do you typically go boating?”

“I noticed your daughter is in dance. My daughter is in dance as well.”

The possibilities are endless. But it will not always work naturally as you might be interviewing in a conference room or someone else’s office. So if the situation allows you to lead into the conversation with something you may hold in common it can be a great way to kick things off. After all, we are all people with interests and many times common interests.

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