We have all seen clickbait. Yes, it can be irritating. And sometimes rather corny. But it’s also effective. If it didn’t work, advertisers wouldn’t use it. The entire point of clickbait is to get you to want more so that you click on the link. You are being given just enough information to make you want to know more. And so you click.
In a successful interview, you want to be in storytelling mode. And you want to keep your interviewer wanting more, wanting to hear the rest of the story, drawn in by your behavioral examples. The interviewer is going to be curious from the start, so using clickbait techniques will simply feed that curiosity and keep him probing further and deeper. The end result is that you will be the candidate who provided the most in-depth information in the interview. Which will leave the interviewer with the opportunity to adopt your stories in the interview debrief, where the hiring decision will be made.
Here are some examples of clickbait and what you can learn from it to make your interviewing more effective:
- “Try this one weird trick…” OK, please don’t ever say that phrase in an interview. Yet learn from the concept. You are drawn to that clickbait because there is something unique that you want to learn behind the click. In the interview, as you are giving an example where you came up with a unique solution or approach to solving a problem, point it out that it is unique before you actually give the example. “So I came up with a unique way to solve the problem. Would you like to hear more about it?” Any solid interviewer will want to hear more and say “Sure…”
- “You won’t believe #4…” This type of clickbait is usually used where you are spoon fed one page at a time to get you to click through the entire series. In an interview, behavioral interview questions are typically asking for only one example. However, a great candidate will have multiple examples available. So as you finish one example, with a second (and third and fourth) example ready to go, ask this simple question: “Would you like another example?” The interviewer might decline, which likely means: a) you have fully answered the original question; and/or b) they want to ask about other competencies. Even if they decline, you just raised your interview stock by showing that you had another example ready if/when needed. If they say yes, give your second example.
- “What Seattle residents know…” This clickbait is geo-targeting you based on your demographic profile. People are much more likely to click on a link that appears to be local and targeted to them specifically. In your interview, you should be customizing and targeting each answer to the employer. Know the employer in advance so that you can target your answers in a way that connects you to the employer. By making reference within your answer to how your experience ties into the specific employer needs, you are employer-targeting your answer.
- “Here was the shocking result…” Using the word “shocking” is probably going to be overstating your story in the interview, but the concept is the same. You are bringing in an element into your story that was not expected. A better word for interviewing would be “surprised” or “surprising.” Here is an example: “As I dug deeper into the data, I was surprised to find that the country profile of our users had changed almost overnight. So the next step I took was…”
- “What happened next blew my mind…” This is another variation on the unexpected turn of events. If your behavioral example story has a twist to it, point it out before you give the twist. An example: “What happened next didn’t make sense to anyone on our team. We retested with the exact same data and came back with a completely different result. So I dug deeper into our original testing dataset and found…”
Remember to make your interview answer conversational and two-way, giving the interviewer opportunities to ask more questions, to drill deeper, to find out more. Your interview answers should also be behavioral, which means giving examples by telling stories from your background and experience. Your interview should answer the question, yet always leave them wanting more. How do they get more after the interview is over? By having you as an employee, to behaviorally deliver on your experience.