The Real Deal: A Great Interview is More than Just a Q-and-A

So you've landed an interview.

Whether it's for an internship or a job, it a big deal...a really big deal. Nervous? Of courseyou are...and you should be! There's something important riding on the outcome.But maybe you are nervous for the wrong reason. No matter who you're interviewing with, they are just a person and your interview will go much better if you talk with them just the same as you would with anyone else.

Of course, you have a lot riding on the interview. That's understood. But if you try to put on and come across as something you're not, you're going to focus on that and not on the information going back and forth between you and the interviewer. And likely, the person interviewing you will see that you're not presenting your real self.Tammy01 350

Back AND forth. That's right, a good interview is not a Q-and-A, with the interviewer asking the questions and you answering them. That's more like an interrogation. A good interview is a two-way conversation. The interviewer is trying to not only find out whatyou know about the business and what you can do for their company ; they're also trying to find out who you are as a person. The best way to show them is to actually talk with them.

It's really just as simple as that. When you answer a question, give some detail as well along with your answer. And it's ok foryou to ask some questions as well. In fact, that should get you bonus points with the interviewer. It shows that you are curious and really interested in the company, the position and the person interviewing you. This is something that is often overlooked. Ask  the person some questions about themselves. Things like "how did they get started in the business" or ask "what they like most about working at that particular company". You may get some very valuable information, you will likely be the only interviewee to do it (which will make you more memorable) and you will change the dynamics of the interview. Most people enjoy talking about themselves and their accomplishments, so by asking someone about themselves, you have made them feel good, appreciated and respected. Youcan't beat that.

One final note...memorable. That is what you want to be. It's very likely that the person interviewing you has already or will be seeing a lot of people. You want to stick in their mind so that when they are making their decision about who to hire, they think of you.

Your first chance to be memorable will likely come early in the interview, and this is another opportunity that most people don't take advantage of. When you're asked "Tell me a little something about yourself", that doesn't mean run down a laundry list of where you were born, where you went to school and so on. They've already seen much of that on your resume. What they want to hear about is you; not trace your life through places and geography. Tell them things like why you see yourself in the industry, what you like most about the business, what your ultimate goal is.

Finally, and you may have to think about this a bit, tell them something really interesting about yourself. Come on, there has to be something! It can be something that you did or something in your life that was memorable. It does not have to be related to the business. Make sure it is positive and appropriate for the workplace. You're aiming to get a 'wow' or 'that's cool' kind of a response and maybe a litle bit of a laugh as well. You can introduce it like this..."and many people wouldn't guess that I..." What you put in the blank is up to you!

Next month on The Real Deal we'll look at demo tapes and what should and shouldn't be on them in Demo Do's and Don'ts and Don't Evers.

And if there is a topic you would like to get my thoughts on, email me at . Your suggestion just might be a topic in an upcoming article.


TrujilloHeadshot 225Tammy Trujillo is both an entertainer and an educator. She began in the entertainment field as a child and since graduating from Cal State Fullerton, has continuously worked in the Los Angeles market as a News Anchor, Reporter, Sportscaster and Commercial Voice-Over Artist. Combining her real-world experience with a hands-on approach to learning, Tammy has also taught broadcasting for the past 25 years at many of Southern California's most prestigious private schools and colleges. She is currently the lead Professor of Broadcasting at Mt. San Antonio College. Throughout her career, she has received numerous honors for her work both on the air and behind-the-scenes, including several Golden Mike Awards from the Radio Television News Association. Tammy is a member of SAG-AFTRA, a former Board member of the Associated Press Television Radio Association, a Hall of Fame member at Long Beach City College and a member of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. She has authored two books, Intern Insider - Getting the Most Out of Your Internship in the Entertainment Field and Writing and Reporting News You Can Use.