I’ve had a few requests for advice when it comes to interviewing lately. 2020 has been a particularly challenging year and I realize the pressure for work is high. I very much acknowledge that and yet my advice for how to mentally show up to an interview has not really changed.
As an interviewee, things to keep in mind (in no particular order):
- You are at the disadvantage. You have no idea if they have internal candidates – ones that have been even targeted to fulfill this role. Some companies force external interviewing even if the panel already has a person in mind that is qualified. That is not to say that internal candidates are better (I can make points for both equally). Just that you don’t know how much of an opening job there really is – no matter what you do in that interview.
- Don’t try to guess what the interview question is trying to determine. Personally, I go way more based on overall reaction, answers, delivery, thoughts and ideas…vs any one specific answer being “right/wrong”. Chances are you will guess wrong and could be doing more damage to yourself – instead, be authentic and answer as if this wasn’t a “test”.
- Interview them mindset. Now don’t be arrogant but this is as much about is this a fit for you as it is for them deciding if this is a fit for them. How do they make you feel in the interview? How do they react to your answers? What questions should you know before making a decision if given an offer? There are several times, that the questions for me as the interviewer sealed a candidate’s offer as a go.
- What would you say/do if you didn’t need a job? The best interviewees are often the ones not overly nervous, not in this place of fear to not get the job…especially if I’m hiring with leadership skills in mind. I know this is really hard when you are feeling the weight of external pressures to get a job. But you want to show up as your best self; not the one being driven my various motives.
- I know I say all of this and it is easier said than done. However, there is nothing worse than interviewing someone, having them start and feel like you got a completely different person. So a question I ask myself afterwards, did they see me? Would they be surprised that I’m type A, extroverted, willing to experiment, etc?
You can’t guess what they are looking for – you can just be unapologetically you and often that authenticity is what will set you apart.