Did you know that “They poo too you know” is a perfectly adequate pre-interview pep talk.
Ok so perhaps they are not the most profound words ever spoken, but they were the first words out of my mouth as I tried to console and encourage the terrified girl in the passenger seat of my car just before she went in to her very first real interview.
What is it about an interview that makes us revert back to being the young child sat outside the headmasters office, the one wringing their hands, shuffling their feet, looking like they are going to bolt the minute they hear the door open?
Unfortunately, the fear and doubt is not only reserved for the pre-interview build up. No matter how well you have prepared, once in the room more often than not you are so overcome with nerves that when you open your mouth to speak, all that comes out is a garbled combination of words that bears no resemblance to the perfectly practiced and polished speech that you rehearsed over and over in front of the mirror that morning.
On that rainy morning, back in February as I drove this promising and yet petrified young girl toward what might possibly be the most defining moments on her journey to becoming an adult - ok maybe that is a little dramatic - perhaps ‘one’ of the defining moments - I wished I had more to give her than just “They Poo Too”. It seemed so inadequate and was certainly not what I intended to say but as she burst out laughing I saw her relax in front of my eyes. Her shoulders dropped, she sank back in her seat and sighed, certainly calmer and no longer fidgeting with her hair. I seized the moment of silence to elaborate a little and try to be more eloquent in my delivery.
“What I meant to say is that they are just people. They have wives or girlfriends, husbands or boyfriends, perhaps siblings and children. They are human too, they have a life outside of the interview room. They will know you are nervous, there is no hiding that, but they will be nice.
The important thing to remember is that whoever is in that room, they really do want you to be a good fit for the job. They are not hosting this just to find out why you should not have the job. They are coming into this interview hopeful that they have found the right person, all you need to do is go in with the same mind-set. Go in there hoping that you have found the right company to be your employer.”
If you can do that, the balance shifts, it becomes a meeting, not an interview. In a meeting, we discuss, we don’t interrogate, we seek to find not to dismiss. All you have to do is make it a meeting, then participate.
Soon enough it was time for her to go in, I watched her run through the rain and disappear into the building, pausing for only a moment to smooth her clothes, and fidget with her hair, again.
A whole CD of cheesy 80s pop songs later (don't judge it was all I had in the car) I breathe a sigh of relief when I see her emerge from the doors wearing a huge smile.
It turns out she rocked her interview. She asked intelligent questions about how the company fits with her needs and spoke confidently about how she is a good fit for them. Overall, I have a suspicion that she may have fared better than I ever have.
So, what is the moral of this story? Well, it is that They Poo Too is a perfectly adequate pre-interview pep talk of course. If you are preparing for an interview why not check out our interview preparation post for some take away tips. If you are looking for a new job, check out our great selection of permanent and temporary roles.
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