The Beauty of an Interview

Post by: Tom Schin
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 Eye of the Beholder

I don’t know who coined the phrase "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," nor is it particularly relevant to this discussion. The point is you’ve heard that phrase a number of times in your lifetime, and it carries across from those admiring a number of situations – architecture, nature, watching kids play at a playground. It’s all relative.  The same can be said about your interview process.

I can’t tell you how many people think they’ve ‘aced’ an interview, when in reality, they over shot, or overestimated how well they did. I won’t go as far to call it arrogance, but there’s a fine line between being just confident

 enough, and overconfident when presenting you to an employer.  I thought it might be helpful to point out a few things that might be worth consideration for future job seekers when considering the interview.


The easy stuff:

  • Prepare for the interview - practice with a friend, in the mirror, etc. This includes facial expressions, body language, etc.
  • Do your homework – know what the company is about, and what the position is about (i.e. Glassdoor, company site, etc.)

The hard stuff:

  • Anticipate challenging questions. How? Ask mentors or friends what questions they like to ask and translate it toward the position you’re applying for.
  • Tell a story – with those questions in mind, take notes on what would be your biography of sorts. Remembering what happened, the sequence, environment, outcome (positive and negative) will help you tell the story of how you moved forward (either overcame or learned from an error).
  • LinkedIn – get a feel for the interviewer or people in similar titles to what you’re interviewing for. Hopefully you’ll see a little insight into what experience might lead to this role. It may give you some ideas for questions too. I.e. “In researching your company, I saw that several of your PM’s have this experience….”
  • Come up with good questions. Part of this is good listening skills during the interview, part of this is preparation.  Think about how to positively spin a question that caused concern in one of your last roles.  How do you make it sound like you’re not afraid of challenges or that you’re more interested in time off than time spent at work?

In any event, as the title suggests, your results are not only a reflection of how you answer, but how you look (experience wise) in the eye of the person you’re interviewing with. You might think you ‘aced’ it, they might think otherwise and vice versa (you can always ask). Pay attention to how engaged they are in your responses and your questions.  It’s hard to get a read on a stranger, but if they spend more time looking at the wall than making eye contact, or they are leaning so far back in their chair that it might suggest nap time is imminent, it’s time to tweak your strategy. Rest assured, they’re paying attention to the same vibes coming from you. Stay engaged, stay confident, and stay present in the moment.

These and other strategies can be reviewed in our blog. No two interviews are the same. Take our suggestions at face value, but use what makes sense for your job search strategy. Whether you're looking for a temp job, or just trying to learn more about how a staffing or recruiting company can help you, visit our other posts.