“Enjoy an interview? Surely not!”.
If this is how you feel, you are not alone. This is what I most often hear. And I respect it. There’s a lot at stake, and an hour-long conversation can strongly influence the next 5 or even 20 years of a life. Still interviews are not a bad thing, and I meet people who tell me “I used to hate interviews and – in fact – the more that I’ve reflected on them, the more I’ve come to appreciate them”.
Here are some of the reasons they shared with me and that made them learn to appreciate going to job interviews.
An opportunity to learn about business
“I’ve never left a job interview without some learning about different aspects of the business, company culture, industry challenges, etc.”. “I talk to head hunters, managers, founders, recruitment agencies, etc. who have very different ways of looking at the business”. “The people who interview me usually are senior than me, and I can learn a lot from them even in thirty minutes”.
Feedback for personal development and as a reality check
“And then there are situations when I realized I was not as special as I though”. “If in the interview I realize my competences and skills are not what they need, I then know what to work on”.
Learn to detach from my emotions
“I understood that – if I can cope with the interview rationally instead of reacting to it emotionally – I’m more relaxed”. “When an interview does not go as I expected (or wished?), I can’t take it personal. The interviewers did not conspire against me. Maybe I was not prepared enough, maybe it was not the right fit for me, or – bad luck! -it just happens”. “I practice to keep my composure”, “taking things personally just leads to excuses and blame”.
“When I explain what I like in the job, what is important to me, which is the environment that makes me perform at best, I also learn a lot about myself”. “It forces me to put on the table specific question that otherwise I would not address: who am I, where I want to be”.
Prove my value
“I have 45 minutes to convince, so I look for ways to be more effective than in the previous interview”. “I learnt to ask myself how I am better than the others. Because good is not enough”.
A great tool to network
“When I make it to the interview and I feel there’s enough in common with the interviewer – even if I don’t get the job – I try to keep in touch with the hiring manager. You never know what the future may bring”. “I occasionally used my interviewers as advisors for other jobs”.
A final word from my side
The old adage “practice makes perfect” applies to many kinds of learning. While we can debate the number of hours and the type of practice that is optimal for success, one thing is clear: training improves performance. Practicing job interviews and doing mock-up interview simulations enhances your probability of success. It would be a pity not to capitalise on your learning from them. . . And you can also practice via Skype.