I know that most people hate job interviews, not me! I always loved interviews. They give me an opportunity to dress up, meet new people and learn something new:) Granted this does not say anything positive about my social life but I have to admit I love talking to strangers for 30-45 minutes. I am not at all a people person, so I find short periods and defined topics to be comforting and enjoyable.
Not everyone is like me though, on the contrary most people hate interviews. I know from my family and friends, they don’t know what to say, how to sit, what to wear, what to ask…the whole thing is a pain. They feel interrogated, questioned, judged…I don’t expect most people to feel as excited about interviews as I do, but it sure can get better.
So how can you make it better? First of all never go to a job interview anxious to get a job. It is like thinking of marriage on first date or buying the very first house you see, it happens but not that often… Interviews are opportunities for both parties to get to know each other, nothing more, do not make it into a stressful event by asking for commitment right then and there. Instead go to every interview with an open mind, see if it is a good fit for you.
As you do more and more interviews you will come to know that most of job descriptions have nothing to do with the job itself and a good number of the interviewers themselves have no idea what they are looking for. Interviews are often opportunities for hiring managers to figure out what they want and what they don’t want, and you are often their guinea pig.
I know it sounds terrible, why would someone waste candidates’ time if they don’t even know what they are looking for? But it is what it is, so accept the fact and act accordingly. So more than likely your interview will never go as you planned, you will not be able to get answers to your questions and you will be asked vague questions that you will have no clue how to answer.
So in such situations how can you get a job? How can you have a successful interview? First of all do not take it too seriously, do your best but know that in most cases it is the Hiring Manager’s lack of knowledge and clarity that is the reason of your failure. Granted if a Hiring Manager is not capable of articulating what they are looking for in the job description how on earth you could know if you are even qualified for the job? So don’t worry too much, it is not your fault.
Second, use this as an opportunity to learn about the company and roles and tell them about your skills. Do not focus on the job as much, as you know the job description may have nothing to do with the role, but talk to them about what you are interested in. You will be surprised how many times managers call back for other openings after they reject a candidate.
Third, relax and have a conversation not an “interview”, if they enjoy your company they will want you around. Most people want to hire people they want to work with, if they find you personable your chances will go up. Be confident and open, make the interviewer feel comfortable, remember that most interviewers hate it too. At the end of the day hiring decisions are often based on personal preferences. You cannot know if you remind the interviewer someone they dislike, if they don’t like your perfume, if they love your accent, if they think you are smart or dumb, or even if they themselves are new to the role and have no clue what they are talking about…it is a gamble, a lottery, no need to over-analyze it.
Finally, always remember many of the interviews are kind of a sham to hire an internal or pre-selected candidate, don’t beat yourself over it. You may be the best candidate on paper, but you will never be given a chance if they already have someone else in mind and are interviewing you to fulfill HR requirements.
So, now you know why I love interviews? They are so unpredictable that there is only one definite outcome of them: you will get out of the house, meet someone unknown, learn about a new company, brush up on your interview skills and come back home. The results may be positive or negative, and you have no control over that, but you can make the experience better. I recommend going out there and interviewing with as many people as possible, you never know which one can turn into an offer.
PS: If you want to learn more, read my other articles about the dreaded interview:
Tell me about yourself!
Do job interviews make you nervous?
How to Answer the Common Job Interview Questions (with Sample Answers)
Let your enthusiasm shine through
Importance of Mock interviews