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Who’s Afraid of an Interview?

Who do you think has more fear at an interview – the interviewer or the interviewee?

We usually think of interviews as threatening situations more for the interviewee, who is on the firing line, having to think quick, answer questions on the fly, and deal with many unknowns.  Even seasoned sales and marketing people behave differently in interviews. We have to counsel ALL job candidates to think of the situation differently, so they don’t get caught up in the interviewee “persona” – too humble, modest, respectful, caught in a “one-down” hierarchy, etc.  Instead, job candidates need to be engaging, confident, and put themselves on an equal footing with the interviewer.

However, it might surprise you that interviewers have a lot of fear too.  Interviews are high risk in some situations.  You might miss a good person, or make a mistake and hire someone who won’t work out.  The stakes are high.  You have to come up with questions, and work at it to understand the candidate’s answers, fill in your company’s rating form, read body language, etc.  Oh, and don’t forget you also have to adequately sell the candidate on your company – incorporating recruitment into the interview.  Lots of opportunity to mess up equals fear for the interviewer too.

The best way an interviewer can reduce fear is by being better prepared.  Most don’t take the time to familiarize themselves with the candidate’s background first.   Read the resume.  Read any accompanying documents.  Look the candidate up in Google, on LinkedIn, etc.  AND, even more importantly, prepare by knowing what it would take to do the job you are hiring for, so you can ask better questions, and receive more meaningful answers!