Here's an article I wrote recently on the human side of interviewing for a job.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget central truths in the pursuit of an objective. We all know of King Pyrrhus who won the battle against the Romans but lost the war. Interviewing for a job can be a little like this – minus the body count.
I assume that when you go for an interview you have done the correct prep: You understand the company and their products. You know whether there is a verbal reasoning test or an in-tray exercise. Will the interview be biographical or competency based or a mix of both? I'm sure you’ve got your best suit out and given your shoes a good old polish.
But you may be neglecting your biggest asset, you!
Remember people buy from people. Now that truism may now be disputed in our internet age but it’s baby brother - people hire people – is very much true
So, let me give you a run through of some howlers I’ve committed in a selfless pursuit of authenticity for this article.
1) Clothes. Be comfortable in what you wear. That doesn’t mean turning up in sweat pants and an AC/DC T-shirt, but give thought to your outfit before the actual day. Got a great shirt you look fabulous in? Then make sure it’s washed and ironed the day before. Hey, it’s an obvious one but I’ve been there, done that and got the (crumpled) shirt.
2) Remember your interviewers are human too. Yes, they may have God-like powers to hire or not, but underneath their omnipotence, they’re just like you and me. Be aware of this and use the knowledge to your advantage. It’s an artificial situation, akin to speed dating. Don’t be afraid to comment on this.
3) Just as interviewers are human, so are you. Don’t be an interview robot. Remember to change posture – don’t freeze in some ‘power pose’. Gesticulate, smile, acknowledge feedback, and ask for water if you need some. These little asides show more of the warmth and breadth of your character. But don’t push it – I’m a funny guy – but leave the observational comedy for your stand up routine.
4) The technical and experiential stuff gets you through the door but it’s you that closes the deal. We spend about a half of our waking life in the office. Interviewers are looking for someone who can fit in, who can enrich their lives beyond the technicalities of the job. Simples things like chatting, banter, sharing. The human stuff.
5) Lastly, believe in yourself. You know what makes you great. It would be a privilege for the employers to hire you. Don’t lose that fire in your eyes, that sense of self worth you have in your best moments – when you graduate, when you sign that massive deal, when your first child is born, when you are spontaneously altruistic. This is you. A job offer is a contract and a contract is a two way bargain that has to work for both parties. Don’t forget that.