There are plenty of articles stating the principle guidelines in order to do well at job interviews; how to behave, what verbal and nonverbal language to use, which information ought to be prepared… overall, the key elements to make an impression on the interviewer and be the selected candidate for the job.
However, even though these ideas should be taken into consideration, if we’re talking about certain sectors, positions and circumstances of each company or project, all of it can be far from reality. Recruiters fight hard to get the best candidate for their openings, based mainly on the technical requisites of the position and the client’s needs, whether internal or external. In this case, we find ourselves on the opposite scenario, interviewers who need to impress their candidates, luring them for a meeting where they can literally sell them on a job position, a project, a professional breakthrough so that the candidate might consider a change when he or she wasn’t looking for one.
In broad strokes, depending on the position we have or aspire to have, which sector we’re in and what our personal circumstances are, we become someone who will have to find a way to convince somebody at a recruitment process or, on the contrary, let somebody else try to seduce us without having to cause an impression. The perception in both situations for the people involved will be very different, to a point in which it becomes uncomfortable and, at times, unnatural.
After countless interviews throughout my career, and having been on both sides of the equation, it’s very clear to me that an interview is a much simpler meeting than what we’ve seen so far.
A job interview can be compared to a first date in which both parties will decide, based on basic though definitive data, if we share common interests and will be able to work together in the long run. Or, on the contrary, our date will end with a polite conversation given it was clear we weren’t meant for each other.
Even if those basic guidelines do matter (preparation, knowing the CV, the company and the project, dresscode…), a job interview should be seen less rigidly and more like two people having a conversation at a meeting on their common goals. By being honest, open, clear, showing what we have to offer, our interests, limitations… seeking that feeling between the two, we’ll be able to transform a potentially stressful moment into something much more laidback that offers better results.
In this sense, the sales and differentiation process ought to occur in two ways. As a representative of the company, I’ll provide all the relevant information about the company and the project so that my candidate will pick me over other offers and I, as a candidate, will also show my strengths and weaknesses that set me apart from the rest.
It’s not about a relationship of superiority or inferiority in one sense or the other but a relationship among equals that will show their better faces in order to find common aspects, having their interests and goals for the meeting clear in their minds.
In other words, I’ll try to make you like me while assessing if I like you and we’re a good match.
That’s why it is important to listen closely and critically at all times; to be honest, putting forward our interests at ease; to be open to new offers and, if our paths don’t cross now, have in mind they might later on.
Both if you’re the interviewer or the candidate, my advice is that, even when following the basic guidelines and your goals, you approach the meeting with an open mind, be bold, ask yourself what the other party wants and what they think of your offer, in a sincere and down to earth manner. In the end, an interview is nothing more than two adults talking trying to work together and, who knows, maybe find love!
Written by Cristina Moreno
Talent Acquisition Global Manager