In your job search, you know that the interview reigns supreme in the decision making process. Even when your degrees, certifications, accomplishments, and referrals surpass your competitors, your interview time will lead to either “Thanks for your application, and we wish you well in your search for a meaningful position” or “You are the candidate we need and want.”

To become that successful applicant, recognize that the stereotyped interview format no longer exists. In prior decades, the standard approach would involve a sequence of individual, private interviews with selected personnel. Only rarely did applicants answer questions from a group or make a presentation to a management team.

Now the norm has shifted. You can expect to tell five to twenty-five officials gathered in a conference room what you know about the job, the company, even the industry. Don’t be surprised if this format calls for fifteen minutes or more of your uninterrupted speaking.

Why has this interview expectation changed? When you have met all day with the selection committee members individually, why do you then face them as a group late in the day?

A major reason: Once the corporation hires you, they know you are likely to speak to a variety of groups, such as:
--Explaining the new benefits plan to department heads
--Requesting venture capital for acquisitions or expansion
--Reporting the results of a research project
--selling a product or service
--keynoting the kickoff of a charitable campaign
--proposing an innovative marketing program

So consider your group presentation during the interview a significant measure of your ability to speak confidently, clearly, and convincingly—which you will have to do repeatedly on the job.

If you are a veteran speaker who looks forward to the group setting phase of your interview, you enjoy a “trump card” advantage. If you recognize though that you need to strengthen your speaking skills prior to your next interview, enroll in a class, get help from a valued mentor, or hire a speech coach.

Author's Bio: 

Bill Lampton, Ph.D., President of Championship Communication, helps leaders speak clearly, confidently, and convincingly. His Interview Coaching helps job applicants succeed. Bill's client list includes Gillette, Procter & Gamble, Duracell, British Columbia Legal Management Association, and the Ritz-Carlton Cancun. Call him at 678-316-4300.Visit his Web site: