Win Your Job Interview with Japanese Design Thinking

November 1st, 2010 by lewis

I just finished reading Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations. There’s a section on design principles that govern Japanese art. It got me thinking: what if we applied those principles to designing our job interview responses? I gave it some thought; here are the three Japanese design principles most applicable for job interviews:
Kanso: Simplicity of elimination of clutter.
Most job seekers recite responses that are full of irrelevant minutiae. Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” It takes effort to develop a clear, brief, and impactful response. Less is sometimes more. When practicing your interview responses, think of yourself as a newspaper editor. Eliminate details that don’t matter. And refine passages for more clarity.
Shizen: Naturalness. Absence of pretense or artificiality.
I often see job seekers utter responses that one often sees in a typical job interview book. For example, for the “Why do you want to work for our company?” interview question, I commonly hear some variation of: “I want to work for a company with lots of potential, challenging projects and talented co-workers.” This is too generic. This response can be used at almost any prospective employer.
Take the time to do the homework to really understand what is being asked of each question and develop an authentic, thoughtful response for each one. Leave the canned, artificial responses at home.
Yugen: Profundity or suggestion rather than revelation.
What’s the most effective way to convince someone that you’re the right person for a job? Show it, don’t say it. Rather than proclaim “I’m the right person for the job because I am hard-working, analytical, and a team player,” convince the hiring manager by showing your work portfolio or discussing historical examples.
Here’s why it works: it allows the listener to draw their own conclusions. This is better than being fed conclusions by another person.

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One Response to “Win Your Job Interview with Japanese Design Thinking”

  1. February 28, 2011 at 1:36 am, jACK said: