Use your memory to ace your next job interview

Nov 19, 2015 10:23:24 AM

Last month we introduced Jake O'Gorman, the Business Memory Coach. As promised, here is the first of many offerings from our new memory panda! Here are some interview tips you really won't want to miss... 

Going for a job interview can be a very scary prospect; for a lot of people it brings with it feelings of panic and fears of failure. In addition to this there is usually a lot of pressure to do well; there might be more money with the new job or perhaps it’s the company you’ve always wanted to work for. When we have a lot riding on an interview, it’s easy for nerves to throw us off track, especially when it comes to remembering what we had planned to say.

The good news is that this doesn’t need to be the case. Even when we’re under a lot of pressure there are some very simple memory techniques we can use to always remember what we had planned to say.

Why use memory techniques to ace your next job interview?

Firstly, let’s look at some of the benefits of using memory techniques in your next job interview.

You'll communicate effectively

Two of the biggest fears people have during an interview are going blank, or its polar opposite, saying too much. At both ends of this spectrum you’re not putting your message across effectively. Preparing the key things you want to say in advance and using some simple techniques to help you remember them, ensures you’re going to be a far more effective communicator.

You'll feel less afraid 

The more confident you feel about your ability to remember the message you want to put across, the less that nerves are going to affect you on the day. This can be a big advantage in an interview.

You'll stand out from the crowd

From the point of the interviewer, it’s a great relief when someone comes along who stands out for the right reasons. Someone who communicates their message effectively and handles themselves under pressure is already demonstrating some of the key skills most employers are looking for.

So now we’ve looked at some of the benefits of using our memory more effectively, let’s go through a simple three step process to put it in action. 

How to remember effectively

Decide what you want to say

The first thing to do when preparing for an interview is to decide what message you want to put across. This starts with finding out about the company and the role you are going for. So, come up with a set of reasons why you’re the person for the job.

Put together a list of 10 key pieces of information you want to bring up during your interview. This might be facts about the company, about the role you’re going for, or perhaps examples in your life where you’ve demonstrated the right skills for the job. 

Turn what you want to say into images

If I were to ask you to think of the word ‘Panda’ the chances are that you’re not thinking of black words on a white background, but instead thinking of a black and white panda, perhaps eating a leaf, or playing with its panda friends.

This is because your brain thinks and remembers in images. If you turn what you want to remember into an image it makes it a lot easier to recall when under pressure.

At first the thought of turning abstract ideas into images doesn’t seem easy, however with a bit of practice it becomes very simple and time effective. For example, if you wanted to turn ‘I work well with senior management’ into an image you might imagine you hugging your last boss (As unlikely as that might be). Another example might be the image of you climbing up a big ladder if you wanted to remember to ask about the prospects of a promotion.

The more interactive and interesting you make your images the more likely they are to stand out when you need them. 

Put your images in a familiar place

Over two thousand years ago in Ancient Greece, a memory system was devised that made recalling information very easy. It goes by many names, but it’s most commonly known as the Memory Palace, or the Journey Method.  It’s a simple technique that gives anyone trying to memorise something a huge advantage.

Take the 10 images that you’ve created for your interview and one by one place them along a well-known journey; this might be your route to work, or around your house. To make this really simple, you can start by place them along the short walk from your bedroom to your bathroom.

Using the examples above, you might end up with the image of you hugging your boss next to your bed, climbing a ladder at your bedroom door and so forth. The more abstract and creative you make the images, the more chance you will have of recalling them.

When you’re in the interview all you have to do is mentally walk through your journey from your bedroom to your bathroom and you’ll be instantly reminded of all the key things you had planned to say and the order you wanted to say it in. This is a really simple and effective technique to use and can save you a lot of worrying during the interview process.

Want to know more about Jake O'Gorman?

Jake O’Gorman Business Memory Coach

Winner of the 2015 Memory World Cup, Jake is one of the world's leading experts in applying memory techniques to the business environment.

A Business Memory Coach by day, he helps companies and individuals learn how they can use their memory for profit. His workshops and presentations show teams and individuals how they can improve their personal brand and win more business through effective pitching, presenting and networking, while also enabling businesses to save money on future training costs by teaching participants how to learn effectively. 

Ready to remember everyone's name? Eager to polish your pitching efforts? Want your team to learn like superstars? Well then, what are you waiting for ... get in touch with Jake. You can follow him on Twitter too! 

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