Want to improve your interviewing prowess? Want a real game changer in your job search? It actually doesn’t matter how good or bad your golf game is when it comes to job search. And if you’ve never played golf, that’s okay, too. But I would like to impress on any job seeker the importance of one particular concept from the game of golf: The Mulligan.
How is mulligan defined?
1. a stew made from odds and ends
2. (in informal golf) an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard
Obviously, I’m not talking about stew, of course, but the mulligan folks use in golf at the first tee. Note in the definition of mulligan: “not counted on the scorecard.” That’s the transferable concept to job search and interviewing. How so?
When it comes to job interviews, rare is the individual who doesn’t say in the elevator after leaving an interview, “Why didn’t I tell them about my experience refocusing talent on a faltering project when they asked me about an example of leadership turnaround success?”
Or “how could I have been so foolish as to have gone completely blank when asked [that ridiculous question] ‘if you were a brand of cereal, what would you be’?”
Your secret sauce? The mulligan.
Simply put, it is your thank-you letter (sent same day via email). Seriously. There’s nothing from which you can’t recover in an interview if you properly execute the thank-you letter. This goes way beyond “thanks for the courtesies afforded me during the interview” (ho-hum) and “I enjoyed learning about the expectations for the selected candidate” (equally blah). Yes, of course you’ll want to thank everyone who interviewed you in a professionally courteous way. But before restating the next steps in the candidate selection process (naturally, that’s one of the questions you asked near the conclusion of the interview), use the blank space to recap, reiterate, and recover:
1) Restate your value proposition as it connects to the position, the challenges, the opportunities — and, importantly, the fit.
2) Connect expertise, background, training, and experience to what you learned in the interview wherever relevant.
3) Then segue to the brilliance of the mulligan strategy … this can be one or several paragraphs — each addressing the types of things described earlier.
“When you asked me about how I have handled an irate customer scenario within a high-profile, strategic account, I neglected to share with you a success strategy I put in place that resolved the issue, retained the valued customer relationship, and provided a key learning moment for our CSRs …”
OR: “Thinking further about the challenge you presented hypothetically, I’ve done a little research of what your customers are saying on Twitter and believe I could help influence …”
You can effectively recover from missteps as well as advance new thought leadership following the interview. The important thing to remember? Debrief, capturing every key thought you can (including any cringe-worthy moments) immediately after the interview to use in your thank-you letter.
4) Wrap up with a strong close, express enthusiasm and continued interest, and articulate the next steps in the process (as discussed at the end of the interview).
Warning: Use of this mulligan strategy in job interviewing has been known to give job seekers added confidence and incredible empowerment (and spurred second and third interviews and offers).
– Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW - President, Absolute Advantage
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