5 Simple Steps to Win Over the Interviewer

The Mindful Interview: 5 Simple Steps to Win Over the Interviewer

By Lisa Foster

“Mindfulness essentially means moment-to-moment awareness.”

The Mindful Interview Story

A very senior executive with high expectations told me about the best interview experience of his life. The candidate won him over in the first 5 minutes.

What did the candidate do to win the heart of a very critical leader?
When asked the dreaded “Walk me through your resume/background.” question, the candidate avoided the normal tendency to ramble. He focused on providing information the hiring leader needed.

How did he know what the hiring leader needed to hear?  He remained calm and asked questions. He didn’t assume to know what the leader wanted to hear.

Here are the key takeaways from the interview.

  1. Be prepared to present your positioning/brand statement: When asked about your experience, respond with a short personal value statement in a clear and concise manner.
  1. Mirror the interviewer: Be aware of the interviewers’ cadence, speak clearly and calmly. Do not rush the conversation.
  2. Present your agenda: Tell the interview what you are going to talk about. For example start by saying “Here is a brief overview of my background.” Make sure to speak no more than 5 minutes without pausing.
  3. Disclaimer statement: Do not make assumptions.  An example:“Based on what I know about the position, this is where my experience is most closely aligned.” Proceeded with a short summary your experience and the job description.
  4. CRITICAL — Pause and calibrate: Present a key accomplishment, pause, and calmly asked, “Is this the type of information you would like to hear about?”

The leader never met a person who paused or asked if they were answering the question correctly.

Why does this technique work?

The “pause and calibrate” forces an interviewer to engage in conversation.

A few things can happen at this point.

  1. The interviewer is impressed, relates to the story and wants to learn more.
  2. He/she does not relate and indicates they are not interested.
  3. You notice they are not listening.

With this information, an interviewee can calibrate and adjust.

Tip: Ask probing questions, “Have you experienced a similar situation?” The goal is to share information. Uncover the key accomplishments to be successful in this role Ask how you help the hiring manager and company achieve their goals? What can be done in the next 30, 60, and 90 days to make their lives easier?

Be mindful. The interviewer doesn’t need to hear all your amazing accomplishments. Take time to uncover their problem. “What can I do to make your life easier?” The key is to be mindful of the interviewers’ current situation and be helpful. In most cases, the leader already has a long list of people needing attention. Be the person who solves problems and you will be the best candidate for the job.


  1. YD on June 25, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    I am happy to have met Lisa. She was very knowledgeable and was able to give me valuable feedback after she reviewed my resume. I also appreciate how she stayed in touch with me to follow up on my career search and progress and answered all questions promptly and accurately. Thank you so much!

    • Profile photo of Lisa Foster Lisa Foster on July 29, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      Thank you for the feedback! It was a pleasure to have met you. I wish you the very best! – Lisa

  2. SS on August 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Powerful advice! Love the tip to pause and ask.

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