Interview Expert’s Advice For MN Governor Candidates (CC)

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Running for Governor is a lot like a job interview. In Minnesota’s case, a very long job interview drawn out over nearly 30 debates. Before Mark Dayton, Tom Horner and Tom Emmer do their final interviews debates this week, they might want to listen to Sue Morem’s advice. She’s the author of “How to get a job and keep it” and “101 tips for graduates” The advice she gives in this video can help anyone seeking a job these days. So she explains how what she’s recommending can help you on your next job interview.

Morem finds that Republican Tom Emmer is a strong speaker and good at using gestures, but he can come off as angry and one of his gestures (rubbing his nose) is counterproductive.  She points out Emmer’s continual use of the word “we” instead of “I” can make for an ineffective job interview.

Democrat Mark Dayton, Morem says, is hard to always understand because he talks fast and slurs some of his words. Dayton does dress sharp, but doesn’t smile much and isn’t very animated, making it hard for people to warm up to him.

Morem notes that Independent Tom Horner is casual in his hairstyle and posture. Despite wearing a traditional suit, he may be trying to look a little “anti-establishment” in his overall presentation, perhaps as a way to separate himself from the two other candidates.

Be sure to watch all the way to the end for the “cookie”.

Related Links:

Sue Morem’s specific advice for each candidate

Interview Expert’s Advice For Minnesota Governor Candidates – Transcript and captioned video

Captioned video:

John Kennedy: “I want us to recapture that image.”
The first Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960 showed just how important appearance is for political candidates.
Richard Nixon: “There’s been more growth in this administration than its predecessor.”
Most who listened on the radio thought Nixon won. But a large majority of those who watched on TV thought Kennedy won. Nixon’s image was hampered by his appearance. His shirt was ill-fitting and he refused to take make-up to lighten his perpetual “ 5 O’clock shadow”. Kennedy, by contrast, was tan and confident and well-rested.

Since a debate is very much like a job interview, we’ve asked author and job interview expert Sue Morem appraise the three candidates running for Minnesota Governor as well as give us some tips on doing a job interview.

Sue Morem: Tom Emmer. He looks the part. He carries himself well. He’s a larger man so that carries some strength with him. But that can be overpowering to people. His gestures were very well thought out. Very Solid.

Tom Emmer: “Giving people the freedom and the opportunity to realize their greatest dreams”

Sue Morem: And maybe he needs to soften his approach a little bit because he can seem a bit stern, maybe even angry and that can be threatening to others. But as far as his overall appearance and his manner, I thought he did a good job.

I noticed he used the word “we” over and over again.

Tom Emmer: “We believe that it is time to look at a different direction. We believe it’s time to talk about government living within its means.
…because we have proposed…
…we believe…”

Sue Morem: And I’m not sure we the viewer knows exactly who “we” is. Who is he talking about when he says “we”. And just like when you’re in a regular job interview, if you’re representing yourself, talk about “I”. I feel this or I’m doing this. It’s OK to use “we” once in a while, but then he should let us know who the “we” people are.

Tom Emmer:(touches finger to nose) …if we get elected…

Sue Morem: I did notice that he also…he did rub his nose and then do something else around his face…

(visual – Emmer touching his face twice)

…two times within just a matter of moments. We need to be careful anytime we bring our hands to our face and start touching. Rubbing the nose repeatedly can mean that we’re lying or covering up something. Touching our hands to our face can even mean that we’re nervous about something. So we just got to watch those gestures a little bit.

Well, Mark Dayton has a great look. I mean he dresses well. He’s clean cut. I notice he tends to slur his words a little bit

Mark Dayton: “In Minnesota there I’m told there’s 95 different languages and dialects throughout our state”

Sue Morem: Now I’m not sure if this is due to this hockey accident that I’ve heard about, but if it is, I think he should let that be known more because it does sound like he slurs his words a little bit so people might be left to wonder about that. If he could slow his speech down a little bit, maybe enunciate a little bit more that might be helpful.

He also seemed the most nervous to me. When the camera first went on him, he seemed a little tense. He doesn’t use a lot of facial expressions. I think he could warm himself up and others to him if he just, you know, overcompensated maybe for his speech which isn’t as always as clear as it could be and was a little bit more animated. I think that would make him a little bit more interesting.

Moderator “Independence Party Candidate Tom Horner….”

Sue Morem: I find it interesting that he’s running as an Independent because it seems that he’s trying to separate himself from the others. The other two wore dark suits. I noticed he wore a lighter colored suit in a couple of his debates. And he seems a little bit more casual. The way that he sat with his leg crossed over his other leg and his whole posture. He just seemed more relaxed like “Hey here I am” ,and I don’t know, I felt that his hair was just a little bit less styled. So he’s sort of anti-establishment in a little bit although he’s dressing the part, just a little more casually. I think he could be a little more animated in his speech. He seemed a little dull, a little flat.

Audience member at debate: “I would like to ask these gentlemen what their philosophy is on abortion.”

Tom Emmer: “You know what, I appreciate the question. And you know Jackie and I we believe in life, but I gotta tell you this election, it has to be about what is hurting the state of Minnesota: the loss of of jobs…”

Sue Morem: I would say it’s typically not a good idea to just avoid a question or divert the attention to another topic. If you get a difficult question, you can maybe turn it to your advantage by associating it with an experience that you had that’s similar to the kind of question they’re giving you. If you can give a colorful story to go around it where you maybe aren’t specifically giving an answer, but you’re giving a lesson learned as a result of something similar. I mean you don’t want to dodge questions and avoid and divert all the way. You want to be as direct and honest as you can be.

Well certainly when you’re in a job interview, you want to be a good listener and I thought all the candidates did that pretty well. They were listening to what the other person was saying. But you have to be just as aware that the camera is on you or people are watching you even when you’re listening. And so I noticed that some of the candidates, you can read what they’re thinking when they’re listening by their facial expressions.

Mark Dayton: “…accounting services, legal services, haircuts, funerals, car repairs…”

Sue Morem: Sometimes we have to “fake it” (laughs) in order to be taken the way that we want. So maybe we need to put on a more pleasant face even if we’re feeling disgust. But so we certainly want to be a good listener. We want to speak to the question. Address the question. Speak in a personal term. You know when you add a personal story and add that human touch, it makes you more human to others. And I think our politicians can do well by that. And I think we can do that as well when we’re in a job interview.

Moderator: “Our first closing statement…”

Sue Morem: And what’s great in a debate when each candidate gets the chance to have their 60 second wrap-up, they in a sense get to summarize and re-sell themselves to the listening audience.

Tom Horner: “I’m asking you to vote for your future. To vote for what you know is right. To vote for Minnesota. Thank you very much.”

Sue Morem: In a job interview it’s really important to have your 60 second pitch at the end too. This is where you’re going to summarize the reasons why you are the candidate for the job and also that’s the time to ask for the job or let it be known that you’re very interested in the position. And many times job seekers fail to do that. They forget to do that. So it’s really important.

(Music: Sue’s Advice)

Sue Morem: To Tom Emmer: I say button up and soften up. First of all, button your jacket. You’re a big guy and you have a strong presence but maybe you need to soften it a little bit. And that beautiful white salty-with-a-little-bit-of-pepper hair, I’d like the white shirt vs. the blue. That’s a good contrast with the dark suit and and just going to bring out your colors. So button up and soften up.

My advice to Mark Dayton is relax and liven up. Have some fun. Smile! Be a little bit more enthusiastic.

Tom Horner, you need to update your image. It looks a little outdated. So I would say go get a new hairstyle and maybe polish up your outfit, your colors could use a little stronger contrast. The glasses even, a new pair of glasses. You just need to look a little more polished. Update that image.

(music close)

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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