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Interview tips beyond the usual

  • Stephanie Clark

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Don’t Drop Your Guard

Posted by Stephanie on December 28, 2011

I am all about authentic behaviour, real answers, honest conversation … but I do also caution that job hunters must be aware that they are an unknown entity, and thus some caution must be exercised during the interview process.

A few stories from my time working in Human Resources will explain what I mean.

Our department was a good size; there were over 20 HR staff. The corporation had over 2000 employees, and recruitment was ongoing with hires of part-time casual to senior level executive types. Our receptionist developed quite a skill in foretelling who of the five to eight interviewees would be offered the position. And she shared her opinion with everyone, freely, right up to our Director.

Her success stemmed from having learned to “read people,” that is, observing mannerisms and behaviours when the candidate knew he or she was under scrutiny, and more importantly, when the candidate was oblivious to someone’s observation.

A potential director was immediately cut from the list as she missed an opportunity to acknowledge the CAO  (and perhaps engage in a conversation)who walked past. You see, the candidate was busy texting. Many a candidate were given unfavourable reviews by our astute receptionist because they treated her in an unkind manner. And a few hapless job hunters lost their shine when they complained, rolled their eyes, or otherwise displayed a less-than-favourable evaluation of their co-workers or place of work … this, after having delighted the interview team with tales of their keen teamwork, respect for the needs of the job, and indomitable positivity.

It is worthwhile to note that your interview begins not as you cross the threshold of the interview room, but much earlier, perhaps even as you arrive on the grounds. And it ends similarly, far from the eyes of your potential co-workers. No need to dance your self-congratulatory jig in public; best to save your pats on the back for an interview well done until you are home.

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