Three Interview Insights

I don’t normally like to just send you to another web article, but the Brazen Careerist blog* came up with a really good post recently, which summarised three points about interviews which had me nodding vigorously in agreement while I read the post. Here’s the full post, and if you don’t want to click, below is my take on the points Penelope Trunk makes.

  • If you’ve ever wondered why they ask you tortuous, trick questions – well, it’s often to try to get you to say something negative. If you can stay positive throughout the interview, you always enhance your chances of making a good impression (an interviewer wants to hire someone who they’d be happy to chat to by the coffee machine – it’s human nature).
  • Being enthusiastic about the job from the off is also a great strategy – you don’t have to accept the job if you decide you don’t want it but you do want them to want you. As an interviewer it can be devastating when you offer a job to a great, enthusiastic candidate, expecting a whoop of delight on the other end of the phone, only to be met by a careful measured response and a request that they “think about it overnight”. But hey, what do you care about the interviewer’s feelings – it’s your life so go all out for getting the job and at least have the opportunity to turn it down (it feels good, believe me, I’ve been there…)
  • Don’t hold out too much hope of getting good feedback if you’re unsuccessful in an interview. Even when candidates genuinely want feedback, it can be an uncomfortable thing to do for an interviewer – no-one likes having to tell people bad stuff they didn’t realise about themselves. More commonly though, in most interviewers’ experience, candidates who ask for feedback actually want to argue about whether the interviewer is right. If you’ve asked for feedback, the minute you start to justify something you said at interview, or question a piece of feedback which has just been shared with you, the interviewer is likely to clam up. All they can see are the words “industrial tribunal” hanging in the air, and the less ammunition they give you the better. So, ask nicely for feedback, make it clear that you don’t want to challenge the decision, but want some hints on how you can improve your performance at interviews for the future, and you may be lucky – but don’t count on it.

* This is one of the blogs I keep an eye on using feeds on my iGoogle page. Often controversial, I don’t always agree with what she writes, but I think that’s the sign of a good opinion based blog, and this post is spot on.