Two Keys To Every Successful Interview

Whether it's an important job interview or you are being interviewed by a multimedia professional for a story, there are two things that I always coach my clients to be keenly aware of. In fact, just yesterday I had the opportunity to take one of my Advisory Board members through a quick interview prep. If the term "Behavioral Interview" is new to you, Google it and get up to speed.

Now clearly there are more than two things that make up a successful interview but I find these two to be 75% of the battle when I'm coaching a qualified candidate. Given that everyone that makes it to a live interview is assumed to be qualified, your image and delivery is what will set you apart or make you memorable to the interviewer or audience.

The Two Things You Control In The Successful Interview: Image and Delivery

Image. Your success might depend on the first 3 seconds of your interview. You are going to be "thin sliced". It's what behavioral scientists say happens during your first impression which only takes 3-5 seconds. Find my article and blog post on being thin sliced, and other relevant posts at or

If you remember only two things related to image in this article, make sure you recall that:

  • Facial expression determines your aggression. The more aggressive you're perceived, the less approachable and friendly your audience will believe you to be. Not good. Try a warm smile and good eye contact in those first few seconds.

  • Body language needs to be open and receiving. Arms open, not folded or closed and facing the audience or interviewer.

Delivery. Those that I coach probably get very tired of hearing talk about the S.A.R. method of interviewing but that's ok because it's critical to a successful interview. The key to being a great interview is being a great short story teller. Every terrific short story has three elements. The Situation. The Action. The Results. Hence the acronym S.A.R. I love things that come in threes, especially when you are in a stressful situation or under pressure. If you can remember this method of answering an interview question (and you have relevant information to topic) you will have an engaged audience and crush your interview. Describe the Situation, the Action you took, and the Results or how it ended up. It's that simple.

So shout out to one of the best story tellers I've ever worked with, Pat McGonigle news anchor at KSDK in St Louis. Pat asked if I would be interviewed on this topic. Think about the stress of that situation right? Essentially being interviewed about being interviewed. Below is a link to Pat's brief story that ran during sweeps last month.

You find all this info and much more, nearly 100 articles and posts on Talent and Career Management at or under the Blog tabs.

About Mike McNamara:

Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.

Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing career and business consulting services. Today as founder and CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.

Mike has a BS degree from Michigan State University, and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House - St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.

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