25 April 2016

The Dreaded Interview

Author: James Middleton

There’s a point in most people’s lives where they know that something is coming up that they’re not particularly excited for. In fact, they’re quite afraid of the approaching occasion. For me, it was performing my piano pieces in front of the school during Wednesday morning assemblies (I was only 10 years old, so don’t judge me). I would hate the anticipation of not knowing whether my preparation would be enough, whether something unexpected would happen during my piece and, worst of all, worrying about what people would think about me. Interviews can be much the same in that there can be an impending sense of doom hanging over you when you’re scheduled for one… Don’t fear, this post is here (super cheesy, but it rhymes).

Who you are

The very first (and arguably, the most important) thing to realise when gearing up for an interview is that you are not a product of the interviewer’s assessment of you. In other words, the opinion that others have of you after your interview is not necessarily an accurate reflection of who you are. I say this because people tend to take it incredibly badly if they don’t get the job that they are interviewing for. Instead of realising that there are many factors involved in hiring (especially in this country), they tend to immediately beat themselves up, telling themselves that they’re not good enough, they’re a complete failure and that their life is over. A bit over-dramatic if you ask me.

If things don’t go well in the interview and it wasn’t a success, the only question that you should really be asking yourself is whether you did your absolute best or not. If you did, then you have done well to control what you were able to – your effort.

Enjoy it

This may sound incredibly dumb and probably like a little bit of a cliché (it is unfortunately), but interviews can be fun. Hopefully the person interviewing you is relaxed, friendly and genuinely looking to find out about who you are. If they are such a person, sit back and relax. You wouldn’t have got the interview if you didn’t have a chance of getting the job! Enjoy the conversation and learn whatever you can about the interviewer, the company and the job. You’ll be surprised at how much people in a company enjoy meeting people outside the company, so take advantage of that and have some fun.

Be yourself

Again, I’m hitting the clichés out of the park, but they are clichés for a reason – be yourself. One thing I’ve learnt from interviewing people on countless occasions is that it’s very easy to see through an act. When people are putting on a bit of a performance, giving answers that they think you want to hear and being a bit too nice, it shows like a red wine stain on a bride’s dress. The inverse is that people who are comfortable, natural and “human” are the people that interviewers tend to enjoy and relate to best.

Ask good questions

Possibly the most valuable thing that I look for in an interview is the questions that people ask me when I give them the opportunity. I’m not talking about questions about pay, working hours, dress code etc. I’m talking about intelligent questions about how the departments function together, the challenges that the company faces and what my best project has been. Even more impressive is if they are then able to ask a second intelligent question based on my answer! This is quite rare for people that are applying for their first job, but if it comes my way, I know I’m potentially on to something quite special.

Hopefully this post will have helped allay any potential fears that you may have about that approaching interview. It’s really not as stressful as you may imagine and if you make an effort to be like you normally are around people you’re comfortable with, you’re doing both yourself and your interviewer a great favour. Good luck!

About the author:
James is Head of Project Office at Hubble Studios. He loves running up mountains, playing in a band and working with quality people. The majority of his experience has been in online education, which has allowed him to work with pretty much anyone and everyone under the sun (think: graphic designers, videographers, animators, writers, actuaries, accountants, marketers, entrepreneurs, developers and even people in luxury hospitality).
LinkedIn | james.middles@gmail.com

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