Interviews – don’t become a robot

Whilst you may have created a detailed checklist for your interview, it is unlikely that your interviewer has done the same

With many employers interviewing up to five people in one day, they are likely to make their assessment on split second impressions. Interviewers are likely to become bored and tune out predictable answers; therefore, it is important to stand out from the crowd by going off-script and staying unique.

Like many others, you probably become flooded with emotions and nerves when you receive a call to arrange an interview for your dream job. To combat this, you set to work researching interview best practice, finding out everything you can about the company, rehearsing your answers, planning what to say to the usual cliché questions, and planning what to wear to look the part. You will even have a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview; after all, this is what it says to do online.

Your interviewer is likely to follow the same structure for each interview to ensure everybody is assessed equally. If you answer their questions quickly with no pause, you can start to sound robotic and clearly show that you are using pre-rehearsed answers. Take a moment to think about what has been asked, then try to re-use words from the question to show that you listened effectively.

If the interviewer is following a regimented format of going through everything on your CV, you could suggest ‘Let me tell you what is not on my CV’ or ‘Shall I tell you something about myself you don’t already know?’

Try to find some common ground, as this well help to create a more natural flow to the conversation; for example, perhaps you went to the same school or know the same people. LinkedIn in is a great way to find out such information.

For whatever reason, some interviewers only want to see the negative in a candidate. Perhaps they feel threatened by you, or your predecessor left a sour taste – either way, it can be difficult to rise above this and know how to handle the situation. Try to highlight how your skills will benefit the employer and essentially make them and their team look good.

Although you have secured an interview, there may be some negative elements to your application. Perhaps you have received a poor reference, failed a training course, or don’t have a lot of experience. Whatever the issue is, be sure to address it.

By addressing your weakness and the possible taboo subject, you are highlighting self-awareness and courage. You will also ensure a forum for you to answer any perceived negativity your interviewer may have against you and be able to put their mind at ease and assure them that you are the right choice for the job.

Success in any interview relies on you standing out and appearing as an individual. Going off-script and being natural in interviews will ensure you do not get lost in the crowd.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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