If you are a serious person, being interviewed for a serious job, don’t you need to appear… serious?
I am working with a client who has a fantastic CV. He has achieved huge things in his career; he works in education and has made a tremendous difference to young people’s lives, and he has been inspirational.
Yet, preparing for the interview room, one of the things that appears to be uppermost in his mind is to appear serious in his delivery. He worries that if his delivery is livelier, more energetic, freer, he might appear… not so serious a candidate?
What does he mean by appearing serious?
For my client it seems that he is leaning towards the sober and without any emotions being displayed.
It about being in control.
If he puts a serious mask on his face, avoids humour, controls every twitch, and concentrates on ensuring that the words he committed to memory are spoken, speedily and with no variation in pace or much in pitch, he feels he will appear…
Controlled, serious… and I would add dull!
When my client talks to me about what he has achieved in our session and some of the highs and lows along the way, just naturally his eyes dance, and there is movement in his face and energy in his body. Not lots of windmill arms, but movement and life and celebration.
Even more interesting is what happens to the language he is using too, when he drops the mask. He uses more interesting words, they look sought out and relished not learnt, earnt by rote. They show a deeper intelligence and thoughtfulness. Releasing himself to speak in a much more interesting and lively fashion means he can bring his achievements and abilities to life.
He gives more impressive and intriguing insights when he has abandoned the desire to appear “serious” and to control every last twitch of his face and body and keep the voice emotionless.
It is inspirational and impressive and human and warm – does he sound serious? Yes, as serious also means thoughtful, and that is a great quality to display.
He sounds as though he has huge authority, knowledge, drive, and inspiration.
He sounds like a great leader in truth, which is what they need to see. I actually believe what he is saying to me and that it means something to him. Now that, is serious!
And you can also be in control while being freer in your delivery.
Don’t close yourself down, be prepared to light up the sky with some well-placed fireworks. A colourful display of your value and worth.
They will snap you up.
Never mistake dull for gravitas.