Monday, June 4, 2007
Usually people write about the post-modern and the post-apartheid period. So let me write about the post-interview. Research and preparation are very important. But your own gut-feeling about what they are looking for is even more crucial. For my recent interview, the research I did about the organisation was not relevant. Our talk was much more about my CV and the specific task they have given me prior to the interview. One has to make trade-offs. While it is certainly important to be honest (who wants a dishonest employee?), perceived honesty can also make you look less good. I had done some legal work for government without any legal training. So they were wondering how I did it? Well, legal work at a basic level comes quite easy to me, so I was trying to explain that this was not such a big deal after all. I wanted to be honest but I rather diminshed my accomplishment. The more rewarding strategy would have been to emphasize the great efforts I had made. The second issue I realized is that after 30 minutes into the interview, my speech tended to be less clear and difficult questions were not dealt with properly (Ok, I was still battling a sore throat and a stuffy nose). The trick here is to be aware of the interview cycle, that we slow down and get tired. The sensible thing to do is to be aware of this weaknesses and then to re-focus and re-energize. The third important issue is to back up all your statements with evidence. The questions people ask are based on their assumptions and assertions and you cannot answer back with an assertion. They want you to give them evidence to prove or disprove their assumptions - they make assertions based on their impression of your CV and your person as they meet you. Hence, the smart preparation involves exploring all the different aspects of your skills and capabilities and how they relate to the employment for which you compete.