Assessing your interview performance so that you do even better next time
Arthur Geraghty, Career Coach

Q: I have suffered a few setbacks on the job interview front of late. To be honest, I thought I had done a particularly good interview last time out, but I still didn’t get the job. They gave me the usual guff about there being a better candidate, you did well etc., but at this stage my confidence is on the floor. Any tips? (DR, email).

A: When assessing our job interviews, we’ve got to be able to see the wood from the trees, writes Arthur Geraghty, Career Coach, Slí Nua Careers. The reality is that sometimes people do bad interviews and still get the job, simply because they are better and, despite their interview, the panel could still discern their quality. Or they did well and didn’t get the job for a variety of other valid reasons – a better opponent, the absence of relevant experience or training and so on.

The point is that we should evaluate our interview performances independent of the verdict posted by the interview panel. Go back over the recent interviews you have done and ask yourself the following questions:

Did I show enough enthusiasm for the position?

Did I display enough knowledge about the company? Enthusiasm without supporting knowledge can come across as empty.

Did I link my experience, training, and expertise to the specifics of the role? By doing this, we really persuade the employer that we have thought through our suitability for the position.

Did I bring fresh ideas to the table? And, if yes, did these excite them?

Did I approach the interview in a spirit of collaboration as opposed to feeling like I was facing a firing squad? As adults, we must demonstrate that we understand the dynamics of an interview. They’ve a problem (they need someone for the position), and you might be able to solve that problem (by persuading them that you are the best person).

Did I have concrete examples of where I had done things that match the requirements of the company in this role? Far too often, interviewees allow their answers to remain abstract. It’s almost as if they feel concrete details are inappropriate. As a rule, most interviewees need to speak in greater detail and articulate more hard and fast examples.

Did I ask knowledgeable questions about the company? By ‘knowledgeable’, I mean questions that demonstrated that you already knew a lot about the company and were seeking a higher level of insight. Avoid asking simple questions that you should have easily resolved in your preparation for the interview.

After coming out of a job interview, go for a coffee (outdoors, if necessary, alas) and mark your own scorecard. You need to do this so that you can prepare even better the next time.

The panel’s decision is only a pointer. As I said above, there are times when you will do great interviews and not get the job.

I have interviewed candidates who didn’t do brilliantly. But thankfully there was other evidence of their ability in the shape of a portfolio, a record of delivery or a reliable reference. In cases like that, I found myself willing the interviewee to do better.

It’s a dangerous position for a candidate to put themselves in.  You really need to be your own advocate in every interview.


Arthur Geraghty is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers.

Make a booking HERE for CV Preparation, Application Form Writing, Interview Training and Mock Interviews.


Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.


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