What can Steph Curry teach you about preparing for your interview?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 10:59

By Cameron Norton, Davidson Executive

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has moved into the business end of the season this week – the playoffs. For those not familiar with basketball in the USA, now is the time when some stars will shine, others will falter and new talent will emerge as the winners.

This sounds very much like a day of panel interviews with a client.

Being an executive recruitment professional across the State Government, Local Government and Not-for-Profit sectors in Victoria with Davidson Executive, I have the privilege of working with professionals at the top of their game or on their way up. I get to see executives in the pressure situation of a panel interview and as with the NBA playoffs, some exceptional candidates continue to be exceptional, some fail dismally and other wild card candidates emerge as real contenders for the job.

In Australia, most people recognise the name Michael Jordan and associate it with basketball. One name not as recognisable (yet) is that of Steph Curry. Those in basketball circles know about Steph Curry and over the next month or so, it is likely you will hear his name on the nightly news or read about him online or in the paper.

Steph Curry’s accolades continue to grow with a Most Valuable Player crown already to his name and another on the way this season. He has also led his team to an NBA Championship and broke many shooting records along the way.

So why am I highlighting all this and what does it have to do with preparing for your next interview?

When you watch Steph Curry play, it’s hard not to be instantly in awe of his ability. You will marvel at his shooting technique, his ability to get shots up under immense pressure and his dazzling dribbling skills. At the end of the game, everyone remembers Steph Curry and how good he was. I want candidates to leave this impression on my clients after having an interview with them. I want clients to be impressed at the talent that I have presented to them and how they performed at ’crunch time.’

However, what people don’t see when they watch Steph Curry is the amount of preparation he puts in before a game. It’s the preparation that makes all the difference when it gets to ’crunch time.’ To get more of a picture of his pre-game routine, check out this link.

Given you want to excel at your next interview and I want you to impress my clients, what are three things that Steph Curry can teach you about preparing for your interview? Here’s my suggestions to get you primed to stand up on the big stage (of an interview) and leave a lasting impression on the people that interviewed you.

Visualisation: I recommend to my candidates that they get within the vicinity of where the interview will take place 45 minutes beforehand. Don’t go to the actual interview 45 minutes early! Instead head to a coffee shop/café nearby and find a seat where you can ’get in the zone’ for 30 minutes. Once you find a seat,  think about how you are going to perform in your interview. Visualise yourself interacting with the panel members, enjoying a laugh together, providing insightful answers and leaving the interview walking tall and feeling satisfied that you have put your best foot forward.

Write down what you will say in response to questions: In preparing for the interview, jot down bullet points of what you want to cover when answering questions. If you look at the key selection criteria, you should be able to glean some idea of what questions will be coming your way. The purpose of preparing bullet points is that the key information will stick in your mind as opposed to writing a  scripted answer. This will also prepare you to put forward an answer that is tailored to the audience, once  in the interview. You don’t want to be reciting your notes in an interview, but you do want to be promoting the experience that places you as someone that can do the job required. Writing these while you are at the coffee shop/café will refresh your mind and also assist in the process of ‘getting in the zone.’

Confidence and backing yourself: How many times have you wondered ‘how many other candidates are being interviewed?’ or ‘I bet there are better people than me applying for this role.’ The fact that you are at the interview stage means you have something the client/organisation is interested in. You can’t control who else has applied for the role or how they will perform at interview. What you can control is how you perform on game day. Given you have an interview, you have something of value to offer and you need to be confident in yourself. Panel members want to see your best, so make sure they do. Back your ability, your experience and your personality to win at the interview stage. Present yourself as confident and self-assured in your own ability. If you second guess your own credibility for the role, panel members are likely to as well.

Hopefully these suggestions will assist you in preparing for your next interview and being remembered as an impressive and talented candidate by your interviewers. Hey, if it works for NBA superstar Steph Curry, it will work for you.

Cameron Norton is a Principal Consultant with Davidson Executive Victoria. He is a highly regarded executive recruiter who specialises in the C-Suite and Government across Victoria.