Mr Godin, all-round good egg and noticer-in-chief has a superb post today. In a job interview, should you be reactive or should you “put on a show?”

Given that job interviews are largely predictable, it seems to me that it would be foolish in the extreme to not work up some strong thoughts and answers in advance. Mr Godin concurs. [phew]

Someone please tell me how this is a brainer? [as distinct from a no-brainer] If you have the wit/luck combination to closely predict the specific questions that are going to be asked in an important exam, then what do you do – not study? Can you imagine what an idiot you would feel sitting in the exam hall, ruefully staring at a paper that you had predicted with 90% accuracy, and not having the first clue where to begin with your answers because you decided it wasn’t worth cracking the spine on a book?

I see this every day. I cheerfully open an interview with a simple, get-your-bum-comfy-on-the-chair question and the candidate utterly fails to impress. On an utterly predictable line of questioning. Stuttering and stumbling. Waffling and going off on tangents. Petering out. Searching for language. What kind of first impression do you think you are going to cast with this approach?

The printable words that occur to me when I see this kind of behaviour are:

  • Unprofessional
  • Careless
  • Lazy
  • Not the sharpest knife in the drawer
  • No hire
  • Next!
As ever, I am not proposing that you arrive at the interview with every conceivable answer learnt off by heart or with a clockwork key sticking out of your back, but the language of interview is an alien tongue. It’s as unfamiliar to most of us as Shakespearian English. You don’t have to slavishly learn your lines off pitty-pat, but you should bring them to a point of readiness whereby they come out of your mouth with some degree of fluency and credibility. And if there are a couple of really strong points that you need to get across to the interviewers, you need to have them down cold.

See if you can guess what letter marks the spot for Seth’s splendid post: X

Related Posts:
Opening strongly
An interviewer’s perspective
All things interview