Change Your Mental Approach to Interviews

Having the right mental approach is an incredibly important, and often overlooked part of your interview preparation process. All too often I hear some version of the following, “I hate interviewing. I feel powerless. The interviewers try to trick me. There is too much pressure!” These thoughts are based on the the false assumption that you as the job seeker are powerless. As you’ll see below, this assumption is completely wrong.

Consider why an employer is looking to hire someone. There is a need that the company has, a need that’s preventing the company from reaching its goals. They’ve already tried to meet the need by having someone internal do the job, that didn’t work, so now they’re looking externally.

Now look at the process of hiring someone. It isn’t easy, as a matter of fact it sucks. The employer has to sort through endless resumes and applications, perform phone screens and spend hours of their team’s time interviewing candidates that come in. All this adds up- when interviewing someone, the team isn’t doing their core jobs, people’s normal routines are disrupted and this whole time the need that they’re trying fill is still not being met. No one likes doing it and everyone involved hopes that the right candidate will be found as quickly as possible.

To recap, a job opening exists because there is a need that’s not being met, so a company has to go through a painful process that everyone involved hates in order to find someone to fill this need. The qualified candidate represents the light at the end of this miserable tunnel. Knowing this, tell me again how you are powerless in this situation?

The simple fact is, once you get beyond the resume review and the initial phone screen, it means that the employer thinks that you’re qualified for the job. Everyone that you’ll meet will be hoping that you’re The One, you’re their Neo, you’ll meet their needs for this position so that they can stop interviewing candidates and get back to browsing Facebook. The only way for them to do this is to ask questions, sometimes the questions will seem idiotic, but no one is purposely trying to trick you. They just hope that your answers will either confirm that you’re the person for the job or give them a quick way to identify you as being an unqualified mistake of the screening process so that they can stop wasting time. Since you already know that they think you’re qualified, you main job becomes to not give them a reason to say “no” and to ensure you actually want to work with these people.

Adjusting your mindset away from “I’m powerless” to “this company needs me” reduces pressure and along with proper preparation, gives you confidence. Try it before your next interview.

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