As a career coach, I find that my natural inclination is to find the career and professional development lessons in every activity.
As a humor enthusiast, I like to mock myself for being such a nerd about it.
But the beauty in all this is that I get to share with you some important lessons that will help you move your career forward wrapped up in some relatable topics and a few laughs.
Today’s oddball topic – interview tips from flying a kite. Complete with childhood nostalgia, pictures of my kids being precious, and one picture of me being ridiculous.
Let’s do this.
INTERVIEW TIP 1: LET THEM IN
Some of my fondest memories of childhood are flying kites on the beach with my grandfather. He was a kite flying professional in my eyes, and I looked up at him as if the gusts of wind coming off the water came straight from his lungs into the sky.
Now as an adult, I bring my children to the same beach that I’ve walked every summer for over 30 years. Going back to Long Beach Island, New Jersey each summer always feels like going back home, but even more so when we set the kites up into the sky.
And now you know why I’m getting all hung up on kite flying. It’s a part of the fabric of who I am, a key part of my story.
The interview tip: When you are sitting across from an interviewer, you need to help them understand your story. You know your life and your experience, they don’t.
Your interviewer doesn’t need to hear about your relationship with your grandparents necessarily, but they would like to understand your backstory and what makes you who you are. They can’t get all of that from a resume or a cover letter, so let them in on the good (and relevant) stuff in the interview.
INTERVIEW TIP 2: MASTER THE HAND-OFF
We’ve been very lucky the past several years with kite flying weather. We have picked the perfect night to hit the beach and let the kites soar with little to no effort.
Using little to no effort to get the kite into the sky is ideal when kite flying with preschoolers and toddlers because honestly everything else you do in this stage of your life is going to require extreme effort. Like seriously, everything.
When the wind is blowing strong though, you do need to make sure that you are mastering the kite hand-off. Otherwise if you are passing the kite over to your kid and they aren’t holding on tight, the kite might end up flying out of your hands and down the beach.
Hand-offs matter in the interview too because while interviews may seem like a solo sport, the interviewer is actually on your team.
They aren’t there to waste their own time, they want to find someone awesome to work at their company and make a difference. Perhaps even take some work off their plates.
How can the hand-off get botched in an interview? Well, you’d be surprised at how many interviewees will interrupt an interviewer because they get too excited about their next answer. Or how many people come unprepared without questions for the end. An interview is a back and forth conversation that requires both participants to listen well, build some rapport, and not stare at each other in awkward silence.
Be an easy interviewee and be prepared to hand the conversation back and forth. You’ll leave the interviewer with a more positive feeling, and no one is going to be chasing the kite.
INTERVIEW TIP 3: MAKE YOUR OWN WIND
I have distinct memory of a year of kite flying way before my children even twinkled in my eyes, when the wind was nowhere to be found. To get the kite up in the air, my aunt had to run full tilt down the path by the dunes nearly face planting as we all doubled over with laughter.
When all else fails, you need to make your wind.
How does making your own wind work for interviews? Well, sometimes the questions you have prepared for are not the questions you are being asked.
Of course you need to answer the question in front of you. However, you should come prepped with three major takeaways that you want the interviewer to remember about you when you walk away. Then find ways to work those into conversation.What three things does the interviewer need to remember about you when you walk away? Write those down and integrate them into your interview answers. #interviewtips Click To Tweet
Prepared your answer for “What are you greatest strengths?” down to a tee, but instead they ask you “Tell me about a time that you failed”? Work your strengths into the conversation to explain how you recovered from failure. Practiced “Tell me about yourself” but they start off the interview with “Why should we hire you?” Make sure you hit the key points of your resume in your answer and tie those accomplishments to how you could contribute to the company.
Interviews aren’t going to line up exactly how you planned. Sometimes you are going to need to make your own wind to keep your kite in the air.
INTERVIEW TIP 4: BE YOU
After my kids were done flying kites and decided to tackle each other in the sand instead, my brother and I took the reins.
Since there was one Batman kite and one Spider-Man kite, the obvious thing to do was to try to kite battle superhero style. As my brother tried to steer his kite deftly into mine, I decided the only way to win this battle was to put my entire body into the process.
My Spider-Man kite was jerking all across the sky as I threw my arms around with reckless abandon looking like a complete loon. The laughter coming from behind me clarified that yes, I looked straight up ridiculous.
But I won!
Leaning into my own natural tendency to act a fool led me to a superhero kite victory. Think about what leaning into your own natural tendencies could do for you in the interview setting.
Clearly don’t try to knock your interviewer’s kite out of the sky, but go ahead and be yourself. Your unique blend of personality and skill could be exactly what the employer needs, but they won’t know you have it if you don’t show it. If you are a little goofy, be a little goofy. Do you nerd out about a specific topic? Go ahead and get excited!Your unique blend of personality and skill could be exactly what the employer needs, but they won't know you have it if you don't show it. Click To Tweet
If the company wanted to hire a robot, they would have hired a robot. Robots are everywhere.
INTERVIEW TIP 5: THE GOLDEN HOUR
Kite flying time when we were kids was always after dinner because the lifeguards had packed it in for the day and the beach was mostly empty except for a few stragglers catching some final rays.
This golden hour is still our preferred kite flying time, and in my humble opinion, it might be the best hour of the entire year. The sun is starting to set, the sand has cooled off under your feet, and the promise of ice cream is in the back of your mind. Plus in that light even my iPhone photos look kind of fancy.
Flying kites at other times of the day might work, but this hour is perfection.
Evening aren’t just for kites, they are golden for thank you notes too!
Before we dive into the timing, yes, write that thank you note! They matter. Also, in most cases email is going to be preferable. While hand written correspondence is lovely, it’s called snail mail for a reason.
So now for the timing. Shooting for sending out your thank you notes the evening after your interview works for a couple reasons.
One, writing the notes the evening after the interview gives you a little time to reflect on the conversation and include specific topics in your follow up. It doesn’t need to be long, but your note should be personal for each interviewer and doing a quick copy paste email to everyone right after the interview is less meaningful. Be prompt, but give these thank you notes the attention they deserve.
Two, if you are currently working in another job and took time off for the interview, you’re going to need to get back to work. Wait until after work hours, it’s respectful to your current employer and your future employer will dig respect.
LET’S GO FLY A KITE, AND NAIL THE INTERVIEW
If you are going to be interviewing soon, I hope you picked up some good interview tips here to set you on your way!
For more interview tips, check out this post on the SOAR Method of answering behavioral interview questions. Oddly enough, Spider-Man also makes an appearance here.
If you aren’t going to be interviewing, I hope that this post made you think about flying kites. It’s some good old fashioned fun and I highly recommend it. Five stars. Will do again.
With beach hair don’t care,