When you walk into an interview, you want to
exude confidence: stand straight, make eye
contact and connect with a firm handshake.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Exhibitors in
classes like showmanship, horsemanship
and hunt seat equitation especially have
mastered poise and personality.
Dress the Part
Despite casual dress codes at most
workplaces, dressing “down” is not OK for a
job interview. But you already know that from
the show pen. While you’re not required to dress to the nines at horse shows (haven’t you seen
how popular plain, fitted button-down shirts are these days?), you always make a positive
impression with the judges when your horse and tack are clean, your clothing fitted, plus your hat
and hair tidy.
Listening Is Key
From the very beginning of the interview, your interviewer gives you information, either directly or
indirectly. You’d be remiss if you didn’t feed that information back to your interviewer,
demonstrating good communication and listening skills. Your horse is the same way, like when
he gives you tell-tale signs that the trash can on the other side of the fence is going to morph into
the boogeyman this time around, or when he is not a fan of the saucy red roan creeping up
behind him. Just like you’d reassure your horse by understanding his behavior, you demonstrate
to the interviewer that you comprehend what he or she is saying.
Answer the Questions
In an interview, you need to focus on exactly what you are being asked. Get right to the point in
your answer and steer clear of vague responses. The same thing goes in the show pen. You
never want the judge to wonder “Was that a large slow or a small slow circle?” during your reining
pattern or “Is that a jog or a lope?” in western pleasure.
Horse showing can be a humbling sport (cattle-event competitors know that better than anyone!)
But whether it’s at horse shows or in a job interview, there is a fine balance between confidence,
professionalism and modesty. Even if you're putting on a performance to demonstrate your
ability, overconfidence is as bad, if not worse, as being too reserved.
Interview advice in this article was inspired by Monster.com, a global leader for connecting
people to jobs. To read five more tips for acing job interviews, visit www.careeradvice.monster.com.