Interviews are a common employer screening tool that provides a chance to showcase your personality and talents in a face-to-face setting. You might get nervous about the pressure of an interview, but if you have the qualifications and interest for a job, the interview is your selling opportunity. Despite these advantages, though, interviews do also present some drawbacks.
A primary advantage of an interview is the personal interaction. You get a chance to present yourself in the best way possible, with an in-person demonstration. You can use your personal qualities to build rapport with a hiring manager. A common underlying question for an interviewer is "Would I want to work with this person?" You also get to show off your communication skills, which are typically among the most prominent soft skills employers evaluate when making hiring decisions.
Interviews give you the chance to showcase your ability to go off script and answer questions spontaneously. Often, interviewers look for clarity of thought in your response on top of the specific information you share. Some interview questions are used to test your creative thinking abilities. "What was the most difficult challenge you faced in your last job," for instance, is a question the hiring manager can use to see how well you analyze your prior experience and convey your example in a possible, but honest way.
Performing in an interview is akin to performing on stage or in a sporting event. You may be the best candidate on paper, but you usually don't get the job without stepping up at crunch time during the interview. This means you have to invest time in researching the company and position and formulating a strategy to position yourself. In the event you don't feel well on interview day or aren't at your best, you typically don't get a second chance.
Companies often try to set up objective evaluation tools for interviews to avoid any perception of discrimination or lack of fairness. Even with objective tools, hiring managers or committees make subjective interpretations of your responses. You may feel confident in your answers, but if the evaluator doesn't get a good vibe or feel like you have the abilities to do the job, it doesn't matter. This is why building personal rapport to whatever extent possible gives you a better shot to win the manager over.
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