Looking For a New Job? Maybe You Need to Act a Little Crazy

Barbara Parus |Co-author, 'Crazy Good Interviewing"
Friday, 29 Jun 2012 | 12:04 PM ET
Source: Amazon.com

It’s scary to search for a job in today’s tough market, where unemployment has hovered over 8 percent for three years.

The worse the economy is, the harder it is to get and keep a good job.

With a bad economy and no credentials, sometimes it feels almost futile to search when jobs are in such short supply.

In my book, "Crazy Good Interviewing: How Acting a Little Crazy Can Get You the Job," I use the “ACT Out” interviewing model (Assess, Communicate, Thank) to show job seekers how to apply a variety of mental strategies and positive verbal and non-verbal communication skills to the interview process to ensure the best possible outcome.

With a plethora of crazy-good and crazy-bad interviewing examples, this book gives job hunters an opportunity to get their creative juices flowing so they can become the stand-out applicant at their next interview and land a new job.

Here’s a brief rundown on the three stages with some useful tips for job hunters:


No matter what your career aspirations are, you need the right tools—talent, education, skills, aptitude, experience, or a combination of these—to be successful. But how do you know you’re even cut out for your dream job? Take advantage of the many career-focused self-assessment tools on the Internet that are available for free or a nominal charge.

Why should you assess yourself? Because you need to be prepared when a potential employer asks you one or more of the following questions at some point during a job interview:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What value do you bring to the job and the organization?
  • How do you think you compare with other job candidates?
  • How did you use a key strength to achieve a positive result in your last job?

Crazy good response: “As a regional sales manager, I used my motivational skills to ramp up the sales revenue in my division of 20 sales reps by 20 percent in one year.”

Crazy bad response: “I used my position and scare tactics to drastically increase my sales reps’ quota. Of course, they feared for their jobs and worked their asses off.”


Use verbal and non-verbal skills to engage the interviewer. In this stage, you will draw upon your knowledge of different generational groups to communicate effectively, learn how to become proficient at various types of interviews, deal with interviewers who are playing head games with you, learn how to dress appropriately, use positive body language, and more.

"Do you make good eye contact or do your eyes dart around the room? Do you stand up straight and sit tall or are you hunched over like Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”? " -Co-Author, "Crazy Good Interviewing", Barbara Parus

By using the right body language, for example, you can enhance your verbal communication with the interviewer.

But to change your body language, you must be aware of it.

Do you make good eye contact or do your eyes dart around the room? Do you stand up straight and sit tall or are you hunched over like Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”? Do you “own” the chair by taking up space and exuding confidence or are you a shrinking violet? Do you synchronize your facial expressions and hand gestures with your words to emphasize key points and make a positive impact? Is your handshake firm and assertive, or does it fall under one of these categories?

  • The Hook: A finger-only, claw-like grasp
  • The Limp Noodle: A clammy, moist handshake
  • The Brush-off: A barely-there, palm-brushing motion
  • The Tight Squeeze: A bone-breaking, knuckle-cracking grip
  • The Water Pump: A vigorous, up-and-down pumping action


After the interview, thank the interviewer and stay connected. Oh, you thought the interview ended after shaking hands with the interviewer? Not hardly! You must pay attention to your post-interview follow-up to give you an edge over other job candidates and maximize your chances of landing the job. Of course, a follow-up thank-you letter is the most obvious and appropriate communication tool. But don’t shrug it off as a no-brainer—there is a definite art to writing a message that expresses your gratitude and summarizes your unique value proposition and interest in working for the organization. The book shows examples of crazy good and crazy bad letters.

"Crazy Good Interviewing" shows readers that having an interview strategy and exhibiting crazy-good behavior can make an applicant stand out favorably in a sea of mediocrity, with sage advice for building the confidence and skills needed to ace the interview.

Barbara Parus is co-author of "Crazy Good Interviewing: How Acting a Little Crazy Can Get You the Job" and Director of Publications for the National Speakers Association in Tempe, Arizona. A Chicago native, she is a versatile and well-established writer, ghostwriter, editorial consultant, and the author or coauthor of three books on human resources–related topics.

Email me at bullishonbooks@cnbc.comAnd follow me on Twitter @BullishonBooks