Ever wonder ‘how did this arrogant prick get the job?’ We’ve all had that moment where we think that because someone wholly unqualified gets to be our boss based off their resume and a great interview. And so we wonder, what is the secret to a good interview? Should our resume be in written in iambic pentameter to prove how artsy we are? Should we dress like a secret service agent to show we’ll fall in line after we get hired? Good questions indeed, but not really useful, so let’s break it down. Someone or a panel of people are going to hire you based off of your resume and a 20 minute interview. If you have a better 20 minutes than the rest, you get the job! That’s it.
For me, there are two types of people: those who interview well and those who do their job well. Sometimes, interviewers will not hire the people who do their jobs well because they don’t interview well and they lose out on opportunities that go to people who interview well, but may not necessarily have all the skills to do their job well. I call this the A-hole syndrome. Some people do interview and do their job well, but A-holes interview extremely well while not knowing what hard work is, so they continue to get jobs while those who do their jobs well get pushed to the side. This can be very disheartening to people who know they are qualified, but just never get the chance to prove it.
So here is the secret you were promised: it matters more of how you make the interviewer FEEL rather than what your answers are. Confused? You should be. If you’re like me, you know you’re a hard worker but get nervous in high-pressure situations because you are trying the best you can to get through it. However, the interviewer has no idea how good of a worker I will be. They only see the fidgety me who is grasping at answers because my heart is beating so fast. The A-hole, on the other hand, has no nervous tics and smoothly answers each question, which puts the interviewer at ease. When they are at ease, they feel comfortable towards you as you build a rapport with them through smiles and light banter. See the difference?
Now you know the secret and you’re like ‘I’m screwed! I can’t just pretend to be an A-hole!’ That’s where you’re wrong. You can and will pretend to be an A-hole. People who are socially awkward and shy tend to frown upon ‘pretending’ because they view it as inauthentic and choose to be themselves instead for better or for worse. I can tell you that it’s okay to pretend because this is something to learn and benefit from. Go into the interview putting your best face on and be you. Not jittery interview you, but the relaxed you when you are with your friends. Your answers are also important, but what is more important is how the interviewer feels about you when you walk away.