Five Ways Showing Preps You for Job Interviews

Showing horses offers so many life lessons, but did you know it could actually prepare you for acing job interviews?

The American Quarter Horse Journal

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. Journal photo.

Using Non-Verbal Communication

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.

Stay Humble

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.career-advice.monster.com