Who is really interviewing whom?

Dec 10, 2022 | Coaching

I was recently working with a client, helping him prepare for interviews for a new job. He had had the first informal discussion, which had gone well, and he was getting really excited, suddenly imagining himself in the new role. 

He wanted coaching that would help him focus on the key strategic messages he wanted to communicate about his past experience; how he could best pitch his ideas, skills and experience. In short, how he could make himself come across as THE man for the job, the one candidate they would be foolish to pass up! The more the interview preparation moved forward, the more focussed and the more confident in his skill set he became. He was rocking his pitch!

Suddenly, the atmosphere changed.

He said, ‘you know, I think I should maybe tell myself I don’t really want this job, in case I come across as too enthusiastic. I don’t want to look desperate!’

Boom! Bet you’ve all thought that at one time before. I know I have! You know, a feeling along the lines of, ‘I need to style this one out and not let them see how much I want this or I will look, well, too much.’

‘Really?’ I said, ‘but shouldn’t you be interviewing them too?’
Lightbulb moment.

There is something about the power play, that naturally feels part of an interviewing process, that skews the way we feel and therefore the way we communicate. We feel we need to sell ourselves to get the job, so suddenly there is this ‘asker’ (interviewee) and ‘giver’ (interviewer) sense of the roles we play.

It can be helpful if we turn things around in our own mind so we go into a job interview mindful of questions like, ‘is this organisation in line with my personal values?’, or, ‘is this job going to allow me to use the key skills that I know energise me?’ The sense of self, and in turn self-worth, that stems from that line of thinking then shows up in the interview as self-confidence, authenticity and a sense of perspective.