The Power of the Personal Brand

I am writing this post because somewhere along the line I forgot that interviews are real life situations conducted between human beings.  Somewhere along the line I dehumanised the event. I used to think that in order to do a good interview I had to memorise my script like a well trained actor. It took me a while to realise that not only did I have to memorise the script but I also had to write it.  It takes a team to write and act out a script, therefore there had to be another way to approaching interviews.

However, I didn't quite know where to begin, until I became an English teaching assistant. I didn't realise it at the time, but conducting oral practice with the students was providing me with some of the tools to make interviews more accessible to me.

As I sat in a room, student after student, I realised that I was very much going through the motions. As a language student myself, I was well versed in the art of oral examinations. Yet, the experience and emotions I was feeling as an examiner were distinctly different.

I found that I was disinterested and disengaged as I sat listening to slight variations of a script. I was not conversing with human beings, but human beings mimicking robotic qualities. Human beings speaking to me about mundane things that they weren't even interested in themselves, all in the pursuit of achieving a grade that may look good on paper, but ultimately fails to build character. There was no realness, no relatability, no dreams and ambitions talked about in that room on that day.

If just one student came into that room and talked about their life as it truly was, if they talked about their ambitions and past experiences, if they gave me the urge to ask a single question for which I wanted to hear the answer, then I would have doubled their grade instantly.

Job interviews work on the same principle. The people who are real and relatable stand a much better chance of getting hired. Our grades will get us the interview but what we stand for and how we interact with people will determine who hires us.

Technical ability can be taught, however we cannot teach people values quite as easily and we cannot impose past experiences on other people.

The next time we are in an interview we need to ask ourselves am I talking as myself or have I dehumanised this event again. We all have dreams and ambitions, it is sometimes astonishing that we can incorporate what appear to be abstract dreams and ideas in line with the company we are interviewing for.

At the end of the day it is the same values and attributes that will push us towards the realisation of any ambition. We need to strive to work for companies who are largely in line with our values and beliefs. We need to work with people we can learn from. In order to bring ourselves closer to achieving this we need to bin the script and humanise the interview.