“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts . . . “
~William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”
If Shakespeare is correct (which I believe he is), we have too many lazy actors arriving on stage for job interviews. It defies logic that they have neither rehearsed, not memorized their lines and are ill-prepared for their performance.
Let me ask you this– If you went to a movie and all that was put on the screen were out takes from filming, would you annoyed to have spent money and time watching them for 90 minutes or more? If you went to a theater performance and saw the cast perform, “As You Like It” without having re-read, let alone memorized their lines since they were cast for the part, would you be angry? Of course, you would! And you would be right. After all, you were being taken advantage of. You would probably;y go on social media and complain about wasting your money on a garbage performance from a group of actors who did not show care.
And when most job hunters go on an interview (or have a phone interview), they are as well prepared as most 6 graders are if they were about to step into a college class.
Interviewing as Theater
Years ago, I remember sending someone on interviews who always gave the right answer to the questions he was asked. However, every time he spoke he seemed incredibly nervous. It was like he was doing the scene from “Macbeth” where he says, “Out! Out damned spot”
Most interviews involve both concrete knowledge and interviewing performance skills. Some may question whether firms actually assess well enough for knowledge required for the jobs they are trying to fill but the bigger error is the lack of preparedness for answering those questions.
Yet what is entirely ignored (preparing to demonstrate competence is only partially ignored), is how someone demonstrates behavior that is congruent with an employer’s image of someone who would be successful in the job.
What Employers Look for When They are Interviewing Someone
In addition to competence, they look for:
Self-Confidence: Does this person act in ways that are congruent with a successful person in this job.Working with the President of the graduating class of a top business school, her nerves kept betraying her. No one hires someone for jobs who doesn’t appear comfortable in their skin. A short grounding exercise that she could do in 30 seconds, helped her receive job offers on her next three interviews after 19 failures.
Character. Does this person demonstrate character? Are they a character? Both?
Chemistry: I want to start by saying that I don’t believe they can accurately assess for fit. After all, both you and they are on “good behavior,” putting on a “play within a play.”They are not doing industrial psychology testing to evaluate you nor have they done the same with their existing team to see how you and they will blend. They are going on gut instinct which has built in biases. No matter, it is part of the game and can’t be ignored.
Charisma: On stage, it is referred to as star power. Professionally, we think of charisma. I will define it as the magnetic quality someone has to gain positive attention and respect.
Leadership: Tens of thousands of books have been written on the subject of leadership. Although some will define it as an ability to motivate, I think of it as the ability to inspire people to transcend their limitations and unify on accomplishing something purposeful.
The Relationship With Your Future Boss: I cannot stress enough how important this one is because, to a real degree, it is the summary of all the others. When preparing someone for a chief of staff role to the President of a firm, rather than have the candidate walk in with tons of PowerPoints and risk putting his future boss to sleep, I encouraged him to focus on the relationship and, secondarily, on the slides . . . which were never needed.
You are always on stage when you are in job search mode. There are thousands of details to keep track of in a job search and when interviewing, just as there are in a performance.
People are paying top dollar to watch the performance. Deliver your lines with the excitement of an opening night performance when all the investors are in the house.
Be great and watch the good reviews come in.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2017
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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