Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Few More Reasons to Be More Confident at Your Next Interview

On August first I posted a blog listing 10 reasons why you should have more confidence at your next interview. Today I’d like to share a few more reasons from a different perspective. 

Companies seek to portray themselves as having it all together, organized, with all eight cylinders firing away, a well-oiled machine. And as such, you, the applicant should be in awe and on the defensive; they want you to feel that you’re the one who’s supposed to prove yourself to them, if you seek admission and advancement to the next step and perhaps ultimately a job offer – that is if you measure up. Indeed that is your task but often the façade they throw up for people to see is just that. I’m here to tell you it ain’t always so. What if I told you most of those who are interviewing you, interview no better than most of us? And what if I said some of the people who are conducting the interviews have no real clue as to what they are doing or why? And what about when an interviewer asks the question, “Why are you interested in our company?” when, in fact, many of them could not, themselves, adequately explain to you why you should join their company. “We’re the biggest, we’re the best and everyone knows us…” is not an adequate answer and if you are just as vague when you are questioned, they likely wouldn’t refer you forward now, would they? Hmm, well, that’s kind of messed up, isn’t it? In future blog entries I can expand upon and provide more insight to validate my claims. 

I know it sounds as if I am picking on management, but I don’t like hypocrites, no matter who they are or what positions they occupy. However, let me be clear, I am not suggesting you play one upmanship and intentionally parry with the next person with whom you interview. My career has allowed me to glimpse behind the curtain to observe things most people are not aware of. I am only pointing out a few realities in order that you can have more confidence when you interview and, believe me, as a confidence builder the information I’m sharing is better than whomever came up with that silly suggestion to people uncomfortable with public speaking –  that to feel less stressed they should, in their minds-eye, picture the audience naked; yeah right, so how does that help? 

Although it’s an essential process, very few people like interviewing regardless of their role in the process. With tongue in cheek, here are some of my own generalized observations of what the different participants really think of the interview process:

Human Resources - It's a function of their department but conducting interviews is the part of their job they enjoy the least

Managers – Look forward to interviewing potential new employees about as much as they do assembling monthly, quarterly and year-end reporting, or employee performance reviews

Applicants - Would rather be doing anything else

When you apply and interview for a job it’s not always a matter of what you’re doing as much as it is about what others aren’t doing, or are unwilling to do, for whatever reasons. My intent is not to make fun of, ridicule or otherwise tear down folks for their shortcomings. Instead, I am seeking to demonstrate the irony that can work in your favor if you, as opposed to others, are willing and interested in making the effort to invest in yourself, and do what is necessary to improve your odds of success, making their loss your gain.

Taking into account the comments I have just made regarding the mindset of different interview participants, consider this:

  • Most hiring managers are not good interviewers 
  • Most managers lack real negotiating skills
  • Most HR personnel follow a process of formulaic interviewing and become uncomfortable if they stray from their routines
  • Most HR personnel can't answer specific job-related questions because they only have the most basic job spec information given to them on a sheet of paper
So you see, it’s not as bad as you think and the next time you interview, consider the process from a different perspective. 

If you have a scary or funny interview story, I’d like to hear about it.

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1 comment:

  1. I agree with your post completely. Confidence comes from experience, and from knowing you have a shared experience with the people around you. Why are we more comfortable speaking to people we've spoken to before? Because we know a bit more about them, they're not a blank slate, and it's not as scary because you know more about what you have in common with them.

    It still hasn't stopped me from shaking in interviews, unfortunately.