Typically, in a time of recession and uncertainty, job interviews become even more taxing. A couple of years back, to get a better job, all it took was a quick email, smiles and a display of confidence to convey professionalism.
Nowadays, getting a new job might mean keeping the house, not having to move, not being evicted, ceasing an unvoluntary diet, not filing for bankruptcy, gaining back a little of your bruised self-esteem. All these stress factors increase your risk of being uneasy when the crucial appointment has come.
Add to this that some employers use the so called method of stress interviewing: placing the candidate under stress to observe how he or she behaves.
The guides for interviewees seldomly address these issues. Often standard questions are provided (Name of company, position, job title and description, dates of hire.What were your expectations for the job and to what extent were they met?
What were your starting and final levels of compensation? What were your tasks? What major challenges and problems did you encounter? What did you like or dislike about your former job ? Which was most / least rewarding? What was the biggest accomplishment in this position?
What did your co-workers say about you ? What was it like working for your boss? What do you expect from our company? ) together with the “best way” to answer these questions.
Certainly, preparation is good, however, the questions do not take into consideration the interview settings. In particular, they fail to take into consideration what managers fear about the job interview. Since they are responsible for getting high quality candidates, they are under a different pressure.
Many guides for managers recommend to ask exactly this type of questions. The smarter job interview guidelines differentiate between how a candidates
sees him or herself and how they actually are seen by others. The teacher who states that all students can learn but whose classes are always full of “dummies” might unconsciously mislead.
As an candidates one can address these concerns by providing SPECIFICS: “This is an example of what I actually did”. Explain how you dealt with engineers and give examples. Bring a sample piece of well documented programming code to your interview. Practice
a very specific hypothetical.
Providing specifics or developing hypotheticals are a good way to paint yourself in the
brightest colours. An additional benefit of this method is that, your interviewer will retain more easily your answers since concrete situations stick in memory better than general thoughts.
Not one method alone for a job interview will guarantee success, however, mixing in some consideration for the person interviewing you, might give you the edge.