Lachlan B's Blog

Succeeding at every job interview

The HR boss of google, Laszlo Bock, is spruiking his new "Work Rules!" book. As part of the promotion campaign he has written a very popular linkedin post explaining "How to win every interview with these 6 steps".

Now apart from the obvious clickbaity title, which I'm prepared to give a little bit of leeway, I would like to point out just how wrong he is.

Normally I would leave these kind of clickbaity promotional marketing articles alone and treat them with the contempt they deserve, but in this case, it's coming from the HR manager of google, who you assume would know better. I also feel that this type of article rather is also extremely demotivating to the job seeker, and Mr Bock should know better.

So to start with the positive aspects of this article. In general, these tips will probably help differentiate you from some of the competition. Doing your research, having a pre-prepared list of questions and answers are all a smart way to prepare. Rehearsing your answers is a great idea.

But will it help you win every interview?

NO.


You know why?

  • People are unpredictable. They might have gone for you yesterday, but today, they are extra tired. Yesterday they wanted to take a gamble on someone like you, but today, they just aren't feeling up to depending their decision.

  • Interviewers are biased. To put it bluntly, you may be too young, too old, too smart, too dumb, too expensive, too cheap, a female, a male, not a coffee drinker, not the cousin of the boss, not an drinker, too loud, too forthright, too quiet, not diplomatic enough, not tall enough, too religious, not religious enough. The list goes on. The person interviewing you will never admit to any of these factors, and often doesn't even realise that these things have been the deciding factors for him or her. Some people will scream bloody murder and say "that's not true, I'm never biased! I've attending 300 training courses on how not to discriminate! My best friend is a 90 years old Albanian zoroastrian!". I'm not saying your not consciously discriminating, but the decision to hire someone is inevitably be affected by your past experience. Admit it, you're biased. If a tall-skinny-25-year-old-white-enthusiastic-male-agnostic-glasses-wearing-nerd applied for a computer programming job, he's going to have to work a little bit less harder than a short-fat-60-year-old-black-quiet-female-muslim-contact-wearing-unnerd is.

  • By the own article's own logic, the interviewer will have made up their mind in the first 10 seconds (and everything else is just confirmation bias). Is this really true? Maybe for some people. I think he's made a mistake here. People's first impressions may take only 10 seconds, but that's why they are called first impressions. A good interviewer will not make up their mind in the first 10 seconds.

  • This article reeks of "you are 100% responsible for your success" mentality. This is common amongst CEO's and upper management types who like to feel that they deserve their vast success, and that none of it is up to luck. They're a self made wo/man! The problem with this mentality is that if you have no job, and are finding it difficult to get a job, then it's 100% your own fault. Homeless? It's your fault. Poor? It's your fault. You don't deserve any help, you just need to try harder and make different choices. Self determination baby.

While this may be an uncomfortable truth for many, personally I believe that luck is a major factor in your life. The perfect job may have been available last week, and they would have hired you in a flash... but it's taken. You're looking for a job this week. There's nothing around this week. What can you do about it? Nothing. Someone might have accidently missed the brake and gone through that red light and hit you with their car. Bad luck. Self determination? I don't think so.

Now having said all of that, I think there's heaps of things you can do to improve your odds. You can figure these out for yourself and none of them take a genius to work out. Research the company. Learn how to partake in interviews. Volunteer with a company or industry in your area. Meet people. Get experience. Stay positive. Keep plugging away at it, you'll find something eventually (hopefully). Keep going and never give up.