The Hidden Agenda of Interviews

It's Not What They Ask - The Hidden Agenda of Interviews

What do you think you're going to an interview for? To list your qualifications and discuss what's on your resume? That's just the tip of the iceberg, and you're the Titanic if you don't go in with at least an idea of what is behind their questions.

Sure, there are the standard questions, because the basic information has to be conveyed some way, and besides reading your resume, they like to see you sweat and whether you can be caught out with any inconsistencies between what is on paper, and what comes out of your mouth. But interviews can be full of potholes that you won't even see coming, because you've been lulled into a false sense of bonhomie by the pleasant manner of the recruiter. Before you know it, and sometimes even without knowing it, you're spilling all your little job secrets, your insecurities, and clues as to your character or work ethics.

Preparation as always, is the key. Having talent and being committed to your employer won't cut any mustard, if the interviewer snags a juicy bit out of something you just said, and tosses it back at you, only to be greeted with a blank stare and stuttering.

It's not what you want out of the job, it's what you can bring to the job.

Face it, you can be the most qualified (technically) candidate on the planet, but you're not going to get the position on that alone. Do your homework and find out what the company wants in the person who does get the job. What do they expect in the way of job performance? How do they view initiative? Then when you're interviewed, give them a potential employee who has all that and the technical skills. Because a successful interview is not always about what you can tell them, but about what they want to hear.

Employers want people who are not only going to keep the company running, but who are going to take it to new levels of success.

You can tell an interviewer what you're capable of, but how are you going to sell them on your aptitude and attitude? Show them, that's how!

Don't just say "I work well with others", tell them how you involved different departments in a cooperative effort to cut waste within the office, and how your past employer benefited from it, as well as how the company "team" enjoyed their joint efforts.

Never mind boasting that you have a nose for new things. Give them a rundown (not a brag list) of new procedures that you initiated, which resulted in more efficient operations at your last job. Or tell them about the ideas you presented, which were incorporated into the company marketing plan, resulting in increased profits for the last year.

As stated in The Perfect Interview Book ( interviews are not just fact-finding missions. Recruiters and company interviewers are looking beyond the person in front of them, to find the right one for the job. And the applicant who gives them a potential employee with depths to be plumbed to the company's benefit, is the one who's going to get that job.

Copyright 2005 The Perfect Interview

Joel Vance is an Human Resources expert who has been in HR for 17 years and interviewed 3,159 people. He has also taught at 4 major universities around the country and currently has a best selling book on interviewing entitled The Perfect Interview at

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