Oct 7, 2020 in Career Coaching

2 Top Interview Tips

Here are two vitally important traits that are often overlooked at interview. Demonstrate these to improve your chances!

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2 Top Tips for Your Next Interview

Interviewers are often so focused on hiring someone who can do the job really well that they overlook 2 vitally important traits that will decide whether the person they hire is actually right for the job, long-term.

It's a high-pressure time for interviewers as well as interviewees when they have a vacancy to fill. The existing team are short-staffed and stretched. The right person will make all the difference to morale, productivity and profitability. There's a lot at stake and time is of the essence.

Who are you replacing?

They may be trying to replace someone brilliant. Someone hugely experienced and well-respected may have retired or moved on to pastures new. That person might have been promoted. They might even be the one doing the hiring! The bar is high for the candidates trying to fill these shoes.

The opposite may be true. The managers may have let someone go who was not very competent or who caused issues within the team. They will be fearful of making the same hiring mistake again and again the bar will be set high.

Finally, the business may be recruiting for the first time or expanding and creating new roles. An exciting time for any business in this position and one fraught with danger. "What kind of person are we looking for?" they ask themselves, "..after all we've never done this before!"


So, it's easy to get focused on 'competency' and of course, it is important that they hire someone who is competent in the role. Someone (like you!) who will do a good job.

However, let's reflect on that situation where the interviewers are replacing someone who caused issues. In my experience, these people often can be described as 'competent.' That's not what caused the problems. Issues around competency can be easily rectified with training and development. The problems that cause someone to be 'let go' are more often behavioural issues, aren't they?

Reliability is key to creating trust

Someone brilliant at the actual job but who is unreliable can cause numerous problems across an organisation. If you're not where you're supposed to be, when you're supposed to be there, you lose respect and cause trust issues with colleagues and customers alike.

Visual of someone checking the time on their watch over a desk with a computer and a calculator and papers. Only the person's hands can be seen.

Mood-Hoovers and Inappropriate Behaviour

What about that person who you worked with who was super reliable and competent but who had such a negative attitude that they brought everyone around them down? Let's call them the 'Mood Hoovers.' (Clearly not in their dream job!)

Worse than these people are the ones who seem unable to behave appropriately with others. They have out-dated views and opinions which they share openly or cloaked as banter. Their sense of humour makes other people uncomfortable and they have problems respecting boundaries. They often speak before they think. They cause complaints but think it's not their fault.

Most of us have come across these individuals during our working lives. Managers who are interviewing are sure to have experienced these kinds of issues and the last thing they want to do is hire someone else who is going to cause them this kind of grief in the future.

Sub-consciously, interviewers are trying to filter out these problems but consciously they are still looking for the person who can do the job best. This is an opportunity for the candidate!

Most candidates apply for jobs they know they can do; jobs that they have experience in. They carefully tick off the criteria on the job description and if they feel that they can do the job, they apply. (Some may be tempted to try and wing it but they will be quickly found out in a competency based interview, if not during the screening process.)

Corner of a laptop computer with a post it on the desk saying Job Description

So, let's say they short-list and interview six candidates. Five out of the six are competent. Four out of the five have similar qualifications. Two of the four have comparable experience. How will you choose who to hire?

My belief is that the interviewers will hire the one who somehow has managed to demonstrate that they are both 'reliable' and 'likeable.' More than likely, it will feel like a hunch. They will say something like, "My gut says we should go with Sarah" or "I feel like Tom would be the best fit." Hopefully, they make the right call and everyone lives happily ever after.

So, given that hiring mistakes still happen, what can interviewers and candidates do better?

Hiring mistakes are costly both financially and emotionally. Candidates don't want to feel like they've been mis-sold a job or to become 'job-hoppers.' Interviewers want to get back to the day job of actually running their departments or businesses. They don't want to spend their lives recruiting.

3 women and 2 men looking at a laptop and smiling.

2 Vital Traits: Reliability and Behaviour

My suggestion is that both parties should focus as much on 'reliability' and 'behaviour' (likeability) as they currently do on 'competency.'

If you're a candidate, how do you plan to demonstrate your reliability and likeability at your next interview - as well as your competency?

I know that if you can demonstrate these two vital traits better than the other equally-competent candidates on the day, you will sky-rocket your chances of getting hired! I would love the opportunity to help you to perform at your best next time - especially if you're going for your 'dream job.' Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you feel that some extra support would be useful for you at this time.


Headshot of Louise Jenner, The Dream Job Coach with logo in bottom right corner.

Louise Jenner is known as The Dream Job Coach and lives in Devon in the South West of England. Specialising in online career and business coaching, Louise works with clients in the UK and abroad.

As she says, "If you're not in your dream job, you're in someone else's!"

?? Book your free Online Career Clarity Session now. 

?? Website: louisejenner.com

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