Interviewing - Getting That Job

by Jane Tredgett

Why interviewing is important

Most organisations use interviewing as part of their selection process. Usually they ask candidates to submit a CV and/or application form and then use this as a basis to select candidates to interview. The interview is typically conducted by one or two people from the organisation.

Depending on the role, interviews may be followed by second interviews (possibly with a selection panel), candidates making presentations, assessment centres and reference checks. These later stages are very variable and should be tailored to the demands of the job.

The initial selection interview is clearly critical, so getting good at interviews is key to getting through a candidate selection process.

Getting it wrong...

Doing poorly at interviews has many damaging consequences, including

  • You are unable to achieve positions you want
  • You feel frustrated at being trapped where you are, unable to move on
  • You lose confidence in your abilities as others fail to see what you are really capable of
  • You spend a lot of time applying for jobs and/or attending interviews for no return
  • Current managers may start to question your capabilities if you can not move on.

And if you do land that job, research suggests that between a third and half of recruitment is unsuccessful when judged against whether the appointed person is still in the role six months after starting the job.

There are a number of reasons why the success rate is quite low. Many of these are down to the ineptitude of the recruiting organisation such as poor assessment of the needs of the role before advertising and poorly-constructed adverts that attract people to a job that in reality is very different. A good interviewee will seek information about the organisation and the position to ensure that it is something they want and can actually do (or learn to do).

Getting good at being interviewed also means learning to cope with the shortcomings of the interviewer. Many people feel that conducting an interview is easy – just pop along on the day, ask a few questions that you make up on the spot, go on gut instinct and you’re sorted! As an interviewee, this can make it difficult to present yourself well, since the person making the decision may be basing their choice on a limited number of criteria and on very superficial judgements.

With all these problems, it’s little wonder that six months down the line the person has so often left (either under their own steam or with a little help) and they are back to square one, looking for another job!

The key problems are listed in the section entitled Common pitfalls and this checklist can be used as a self analysis tool to help you identify your own strengths and weaknesses as an interviewee.