The Job Interview
Recruiting an individual should be an entirely unemotional and logic-driven exercise. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as many people will allow their feelings and emotions to influence decisions that they have to make. For an interview candidate, this phenomenon creates problems and opportunities.
You and everyone else involved in an interview may know that you are the perfect candidate in terms of skills and experience. However, other concerns of a more personal nature also have a large part to play. Many candidates fall short because they are unable to convince the interviewers of their suitability as measured by the employers’ concerns. The converse of this applies as well, whereby you might not be the best in terms of skills and experience, but you are a perfect fit when it comes to the personality side of issues considered.
It often happens that the best person for the job in terms of skills and experience is not the one appointed. Other people not involved in the interview process often meet this regular occurrence in the workplace with bewilderment and disbelief. It may be that you yourself were overlooked for a role or a promotion when you believe that you were the best person for the job. If you understand that the entire package represented by a prospective employee is evaluated, you may then understand why this may have happened to you.
Area of concern 1 is easily measured and tested. Unfortunately, there is no objective way of measuring and evaluating how an employee will measure up against concerns 2, 3 and 4. This is purely a subjective assessment that an interviewer has to arrive at in a short period of time, by asking only a few questions. This is where the human element comes in to play and where the whole process can work for or against you. You’re now being aware of this grey area of recruiting can only but improve your performance and thus greatly increase your chances of securing that job that you feel you deserve.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that interviewers are people too. Everyone likes to feel comfortable with the people that they deal with. Interviewers especially have a strong subconscious need to feel that the person they have chosen “feels” right to them. They want to hire somebody like themselves because they believe this person will be more predictable, more manageable and be a “safe” choice. See also this page about icebreaker questions for your job interview.
The fact of the matter is that very few interviewers are ever trained for the role of interviewing and recruiting employees. This aspect of working life is more of an art than a science. The ability to interview people with a view to hiring is a skill that is acquired over time and, like with anything else, will involve a few mistakes along the way. As the old saying goes, “good judgment and good experience come from times of bad judgment and bad experience.”
Interview candidates expect that the people who will be interviewing them will be far better organized, more experienced and know every trick in the book about everything. This is far from the truth. Often the people involved in making appointment decisions are not used to having to do so. For many interviewers, having to conduct an interview is seen as something of a waste of time. Inexperienced interviewers often aren’t qualified to discuss things like salary negotiations and are sometimes even more nervous than the candidates before them.
It tends to be only with the larger companies that there will be many people involved in an interview with most of them having had some time to prepare for conducting an interview. Smaller companies will naturally have fewer people involved, but this doesn’t mean that the interview will be any easier. One experienced interviewer is worth five inexperienced interviewers. Unfortunately, irrespective of an interviewer’s experience, they will nevertheless deliver their opinion of you. You will obviously need to win over every interviewer regardless of their level of experience.
Experienced interviewers will always look to find the best person for the role being offered. It often happens that they do not find a perfect match between the pool of people that have shown an interest and what they are looking for. So just because you know that you are not a perfect match, don’t count yourself out because you may be the best person that they interviewed.