At H-Training we support many highly qualified individuals with interview preparation. From Doctors to Solicitors and Detectives to Engineers many of these candidates share a particular strength that left loose in an interview can actually be a liability.
What strength are we talking about? In a word, information.
This may seem counter intuitive in an information age, however we encounter it again and again. Whilst practicing a given scenario and demonstrating their ability under a particular competency these candidates drift off into the minutia of their professional knowledge and when they eventually come around, find themselves halfway to Timbuctoo.
We often find ourselves appealing to candidates in such scenarios to demonstrate their abilities, without actually engaging in them before the interview board’s eyes.
The point behind this is that interview boards are traditionally comprised of two knowledge experts and a HR professional (with the exception here being medicine, for the most part). And while you wow the two technical people the HR person is left out in the cold. We have been that person many times and although the candidate certainly sounds like they know what they are talking about, we have no frame of reference by which to gauge this. And besides we are there to assess them for interview under the competencies agreed in advance. If they are not meeting the criteria, then it is impossible for us to score them favourably.
What makes Detectives good at what they do is their meticulousness and steadfast commitment to leave no stone unturned. In this vein they often begin to testify in preparing for an interview board, which although it sounds professional runs the risk of losing the boards attention. Similarly, Solicitors quiver with delight and the idea of explaining something to within an inch of it’s life. And we have all sat next to engineers who love nothing more than to regale deaf heaven with more millimetres than it takes to raise an ocean.
However, it is worth keeping in mind that your interview panel is also a collection of human beings, with finite attention spans (that are even more fragile after lunch). If you can keep them engaged and provide them with the information that they need succinctly, they will remember you. Allude to your knowledge and demonstrate it, but no more than you need to. An anecdotal aside can help, but it needs to be tempered and used to demonstrate something else about you, perhaps even something as simple as your personality. But give your information and get out.
Interviews, as we have written about before, are not reflective of the real world. They have constructed rules and are in essence a contrived environment, but if you play by the rules of that world, you will realise real-world returns.