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Jul 11

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Frankly, I don’t see the point

“If I’m completely honest, I don’t really see the point of interviews”, some of my new clients say, shortly after expressing large degrees of frustration at the whole process.

“Surely they can see from my CV/references/UCAS form/A-level predictions, I’m more than capable.”

NB: This conversation pops up amongst both professionals applying for jobs and students applying for a place at an elite university. With this attitude, they risk walking into interview frustrated and unengaged.

In his wonderfully clear and encouraging ‘The Interview Book’, James Innes explains interviews are designed to establish the following:

  1. Can you do the job? (I wasn’t lying on my application form, I really am this impressive)
  2. Will you do the job? (I have drive, motivation, commitment, and the ability to get out of bed in the morning)
  3. Will you fit in? (I am not a social anomaly)

Being able to demonstrate ‘yes’ to question one, isn’t enough. A very capable, smug, lazy and sociopathic brain in a vat, just won’t cut it in most work or study situations.

I suggest interviewees try standing in the interviewers’ shoes.

Their choice of candidate will affect their future existence. The success (or otherwise) of the chosen one will reflect on their professional judgement. And it’s likely they will have to work with/train/at-least-have-some-form-of-social-interaction with the person they pick.

And (just maybe) the interviewer might be a little nervous about the whole process.

Bearing all this in mind, here are three top tips for interview success on all three fronts.

1. Be passionate – Before your interview, have a trusted friend (or coach) watch and listen to you answering practice interview questions. Ask them to identify what topics get you going. When are you energised by the conversation? When do your eyes light up? Those are the areas you’re really passionate about. Steer your interview answers towards those topics and your drive and commitment will be shien through.

2. Communicate well – “Speak in a way that makes it easy for others to listen, and listen in a way that makes it easy for others to speak.” Practise (and seek feedback) on your body language and eye contact. The effects of nervousness can play havoc with our communication skills, so make sure you’re on top of the butterflies too.

3. Smile – It’s the shortest distance between two people. Few people can resist reciprocating, and both of you will feel good as a result. This helps to calm everyone’s nerves. You and the associated positive vibe will be linked in the mind of the interviewer. And they’ll be more likely to want to see you again.

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