Best Interview Tip: Stop Trying to Impress the Interviewer
You probably have tried your best to pull off that sensational interview appearance, trying to wow your interviewer or impress the seeming almighty interview panel, but things just have not been going the way you expected, and you have been frustrated with your own performance during many recruitment campaigns.
Perhaps, you had a great session with the interviewer/s and for some mysterious reason; you never got that call or e-mail telling you that you have been hired…oops. Well, I have some good advice for you and that is – stop trying to impress the interviewer.
Many candidates should have landed the jobs by just being self-confident, but things start getting complicated in the interview room when they think or make it their sole focus to super-impress the interviewer.
On getting to see the reaction that the interviewer is not impressed or looking beyond their awesome social skills as they did not imagine it would be at their rehearsals, they gradually lose self-esteem, begin to fidget and fade off like an overly told joke.
Then the sad reality begins to show its ugly face – their opportunity to land the gig is slipping off and their dream job is never coming.
So, we thought we’ll put few things together to help you just before you go lose another wonderful opportunity via your splendid rehearsals aimed at impressing the interviewer that do not get the job for you.
You know what the interviewer wants to hear and see, now you should learn what the interviewers do not want from their candidates.
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO IMPRESS THE INTERVIEWER
As I said earlier, as unbelievable as it might sound, it is high time you stopped trying to impress your interviewer. The major side effect of this age-long tactic is that many applicants gradually lose their confidence once it becomes evident that things are not going the way they planned it.
An interviewer wants you to be bold and to hold your gun at all time. It shows him or her that you know your stuff rather than putting up a selfless and eventual comical display to get them impressed. At the end, you may never get to impress them.
You may not absolutely agree to it yet but take it or leave it; an average person knows when you are trying to impress him or her. It becomes obvious and, you seem to have placed yourself on trial already when the real trial is yet to begin!
As you may have noticed if you have gone for more than one interview, interviewers have different dispositions and approach. However, one thing is common especially for stern interviewers; they are really hard to please.
The task of impressing them becomes even more herculean once they discover that you will say anything or put up any act just to impress them.
You probably at this point have lost the battle and they may not be impressed at all. In fact, some will to get you off balance and put you on a hot seat (if you are not sweaty already). Then, the bad jokes set in. You crack them and laugh alone or get the compassionate laughter as consolation.
This may make you lose your preparation and start making statements that are a ‘no-no’ for job interviews. Then, you have begun to lose the job. So, ask yourself if it is worth the stress.
WHAT GOOD IMPRESSION IS NOT
One of the most important things any job seeker would realize is the need to be polite to all members of staff of the organization and of course, the interviewer.
All interviewers look out for this quality as it is a pointer to what attitude they should expect from a potential employee.
Thus, Mr. A, an averagely skilled, disciplined and polite applicant will be much preferred over Mr. J, a very skillful and resourceful applicant who is always retorting back, nasty and lacks composure.
The reason is obvious. Organizations require interpersonal skills and courtesy as prerequisites for hiring because it will sometimes be crucial to maintaining and landing clients as well as maintaining subordination and discipline in the system. This makes many job seekers naturally polite and humble at interviews.
But guess what? The interviewer is not easily fooled. It is okay to be courteous and very polite in your answers but doing everything to please and being extraordinarily polite may put off your interviewer giving him the impression that you are being tricky and fake.
Don’t forget that interviewers were once job applicants. So, your desire and aim to impress them with your ‘extreme’ courtesy may seem like tricks just to land the job. Summarily, be polite but do not overdo it.
The other part is showing off. Take the scenario below for an example:
Interviewer: So, Mr. A, can you tell me why you should be hired for this position in this company?
Mr. A: (smiles, clears his throat and crosses his legs) Are you kidding me right now? Have you taken a good look at my C.V? Well, to answer your question, umm, I don’t know if you have been to the Google Branch in Singapore, or to Seoul or the Samsung Head office in South Africa, I designed their module for client assessment and customer service improvement. In fact, they regard me as a wizard and I have the personal contacts of the General Managers at these branches (he smiles again).
From this scenario, while the applicant may think he has been able to wow the interviewer and blow him out of the water, a sound interviewer would be put off and the first logical question popping in the interviewer’s mind would be “If you have personal contacts with them, then why are you here?”
Showing off often entails undue exaggeration of facts and most times, lies. Stick with the question that was asked. The question asked by the above interviewer centered on the applicant’s ability to function optimally and the unique edge he or she has to deliver what is needed in the office applied for and not the places or companies he has worked with.
Employers are always looking for a team-player who knows his/her stuff and not a celebrity.
IMPRESS THE INTERVIEWER OR BE SELF-CONFIDENT?
Should I aim to please or just be self-confident of my skills? Most job seekers face this dilemma before the interview. With experience and interaction with other interviewers, there will always be preference or candidates who choose the latter. It naturally pleases the interviewer for an applicant to be self-confident.
Sadly, most candidates aim to impress the interviewers at the expense of their self-esteem. Let us take a date for example. While a lady would want her date to go out of his way to blow her way out of her mind, a fidgeting or a date that is lacking in self-confidence just because he is trying to impress her would certainly have the odds stacked against him.
The same goes for interviewers. If a candidate begins to fidget and lacking in confidence, he/she would create the bad impression on interviewers. Imagine if you discovered in the reaction and the looks on the face of your interviewers that they are not impressed.
You will gradually lose the confidence you built for the interview and may begin to fidget. It generally indicates bad performance under pressure. Be confident in yourself. There is no way you can communicate your self-worth if your aim is to please the interviewer.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
In preparing for an interview, there are a few things to do before attending the interview if you want to get a better shot at the job.
I thought to include this section to help candidates who want to stop cutting through the corners and cheap means of appealing to the sense of pleasure of the interviewer and want to show that they have what it really takes to get the job.
Here are just a few tips:
- Conduct research on the employer or employing company or organization.
- Don’t go to every interview with the same old information, update yourself.
- Conduct research on the hiring manager.
- Prepare yourself and check for self-confidence.
- Dress well for the occasion and not to blow the interviewer’s mind with your exclusive fashion taste (except the job requires such creativity).
More tips can be found at this link.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO AT THE INTERVIEW
Whilst you have prepared hard and rehearsed well for your interview, there are probably a few things to note about the do’s and dont’s at the interview.
Always maintain a good self-esteem
Never look down on yourself or assume some other folks are better than you just because they look like it or speak like they do.
They are having a good time displaying their self-esteem and you should not feel bad about yourself either. After all, you got the same interview too. So, feel good and be on top of your game.
There is a need to bring your confidence to the game. Only self-confident people can inspire others to place their trust in them and hire them for positions in their company.
“Sell yourself” and not “Impress the Interviewer”
This should be your focus at the interview – get the interviewers to like what you have to offer in respect of your skills and qualifications. Trying to impress the interviewer is cheap and veering off course.
Understand that they are looking for an intelligent employee and not a doll
Don’t just nod make the interview more formal than the interviewers want it. You are not a robot. Smile when you need to and ask reasonable questions pertaining to the company and its goals when given the opportunity.
This shows you are not just interested in the paycheck but also in the growth and development of the organization.
Remember, you have to be polite and confident
This will involve you greeting courteously, shaking hands when offered and not squeezing or snapping fingers. You should also avoid gangster handshakes or swear in or out of the interview rooms.
Politely greet and respond to all members and cadres of staff. This is very important as interviewers put these points into consideration. No employer likes a snub as an employee. Be polite and confident.
HIGH SELF-ESTEEM IS NOT SHOW-OFF
In case you have been wondering, there is surely a difference between showing off and having a high self-esteem or evaluation. You should know your worth in the labor market and you do not have to be shy about it.
Except you are working in for charity or purposely taking a pay cut or offering to do a job lower than your status for reasons best known to you, then you should evaluate yourself highly and make others see the same. This will make the company or organization value you and your skills set. This is quite different from show off.
Show off is focusing more on your skills or yourself as an individual than the needs of the organization. Generally, interviewers want you to show them you know your stuff, but this does not eradicate the fact that they also want you to show that you are quite interested in or fascinated by the goals of the organization, believe in their achievability and effectively communicate how your addition can help advance their cause.
So, you see, having a high self-evaluation is different from showing off. You should think highly of yourself but not above the organization or your own qualifications.
Be very confident in what you can do. An interviewer once said that she had to remind a certain candidate that he was not lucky to be at the interview but considered to merit it.
Do not disappoint the people who made the shortlist prematurely by your lack of confidence. Remember that you are not in the interview just by chance and even if it were by chance, you should make the most of it.
ENJOY THE INTERVIEW TOO!
What if I told you that you could make the interview room a place where you can dominate? Where don’t you have to be on a scale or a hot seat? A room where you can just enjoy the flow of events and answer a question with ease and no sweaty palms?
The best candidates are those who are confident of what they have to offer. No fidgeting, no fear of not getting the job, no fear of the seeming devouring face of the interviewer and ultimately no fear of failing to impress the interviewer.
Well, you just have to learn this one basic thing. The tensed atmosphere in the interview room is a figment of your imagination. Take it off your mind and it would be gone forever. Think of it this way, it is a room where you meet those who want to be convinced that you are the person they need to solve their problem.
Interviewers are doing their jobs but not always boring or sad or anti-candidate professionals. They need you in the company. They need your skills and qualities. You must feel important and needed. As a matter of fact, they are in that room for you; just to hire someone like you!
You get on with the flow. Enjoy their jokes genuinely and do not just nod and smile like a robot. Laugh heartily when the scenario demands and smile if it also demands the occasion. Like I said before, just be natural. Don’t apply too much pressure on yourself or put too many efforts trying to impress the interviewer.
You would lose the originality of the occasion and may even pass for a person with terrible interpersonal skills. Your test of quality has also begun. Establish rapport and eye contact. It is the perfect way to communicate. They need to know you understand the organizational mode of communication and you also have to make them understand you.
Learning to multitask is a great quality for a worker but much more is learning to think ahead and anticipate. If there is such euphoria in the interview room as the one described, then you must also learn to anticipate the next block they might throw at you. You cannot afford to be caught unawares or thrown off balance.
However, if they got you one down, you do not have to worry or make the atmosphere tense. You do not have to get everything right. Just move on and do great.
Hence, you have to be free in your mind and in the room yet alert. Allow them to connect with you even as you connect with them. Remember, a jovial interview where you were confident of your skills and qualities is one of the best ways to make the interviewers remember you.
THE ULTIMATE IMPRESSION
Well, this conversation is coming to an end but there are a few tips to drop off even at this point. A good reminder about interviewers is that they are professionals in the business of hiring those with the required qualifications and qualities for the job.
Interviewers do not look for those can super-impress them with their nicely crafted words, rib cracking jokes or hefty show of work history or academic qualifications. The question on their mind is: “Who is able to fill the void in this company, fit in without stress and bring the best game to the table?”
You tick those boxes and you are hot on and top of their list of candidates for the job. It would not matter if you could not crack a joke throughout the interview. You also cannot tick those boxes without being self-confident about your qualities and sure that you are good enough.
Can you handle the demands of the job? Ticking all these invisible but salient boxes are what I call ‘The Ultimate Impression’. Having highlighted what the ultimate impression is, I think it is important to state what it is not. Aiming to please at all costs may be a disadvantage in achieving the ultimate impression on your interviewer.
It may work in places where you are needed to relate to clients or customer service to an extent but certainly would not carry you far. Just note the following points:
- Crack all the jokes and you may still not fill in the gaps.
- Aiming to impress is not a strong feature.
- Self-confidence in your skills and qualities is the ultimate impression.
- So, dear job seeker, stop trying to impress the interviewer!
Prepare well for the interview. It is a place to “sell yourself” to the interviewers and not to blow the mind or super-impress them. Self-confidence is the best and ultimate impression. Once you press your aim towards impressing the interviewer, you risk losing your confidence and ability to make the interviewer believe you are the man or woman for the job.
Overcome the anxiety that comes with interviews. It is not that tense as your mind makes it be. As a matter of fact. You can make the selection process actually enjoyable for yourself and still be alert at all times. Yes, you can pull it off. All you need is to make sure your attitude is positive and never tense.
Be polite and do not overdo it. I am quite aware there are no hard and fast rules about interviews neither is there an absolute advice concerning interviews.
However, there are some principles that are general and mutually inclusive. Attempting to impress an interviewer at the expense of your confidence or self-esteem will not be in your favor.
So, it is time to call it quits on that tactic. Like I said, you did not get the job interview by luck but on merit. They need a person of your worth, skill and qualification.
The interview is to verify this fact and see who can give the best delivery. That person is you and I believe you can pull it off so well without focusing too much of your efforts on impressing the interviewer.
Take note of the points discussed above and you could be the next candidate who will get the e-mail or call to resume work or come back to discuss terms of employment. You are worth it. Quit trying to impress the interviewer and prove that you are their next team member!
Picking your future career is never easy and finding the right pick can be hard when you can’t know …