Interview Preparation – should past experiences influence how you prepare?
The world is littered with self help guides written by various life coaches about to how to transform your life and be successful. The general consensus seems to be that in order to be successful in whatever you do, including getting the job offer you desire, is not to dwell on what has happened in the past but concentrate on visualising what is going to happen in the future. So should we simply disregard previous interview feedback, good and bad, when preparing for future interviews?
Not concentrating on past negative events does make a lot of sense but it should never be taken literally. So for example people who are scarred by a disastrous interview in Birmingham shouldn’t discount future interviews in Birmingham just because the last one didn’t work out. Equally, we shouldn’t completely wipe the experience from our memory banks, we should take a look at why it went wrong, acknowledge we didn’t do very well and move on. If we dwell too much on what has happened before, we end up unable to move on.
Making yourself accountable for mistakes in the past is a big part of moving on. For example on that last interview in Birmingham perhaps it was a disaster because you didn’t prepare well enough in terms of being able to explain your reasons for wanting to work in Birmingham and join the firm you were meeting? Whatever the reason for being rejected its very rare that the blame lies completely with somebody else but acknowledging that you are partly to blame is a big factor in being able to move on and be more successful.
I am a big Liverpool FC supporter (although I have never been to Anfield but that’s a different matter!) and anyone that follows football will know that Liverpool have had, by their high standards, a pretty disastrous couple of seasons. Steven Gerrard is a world class football player and brilliant captain but at no point during any of the post match interviews for the many matches that Liverpool should have won did he blame anyone but the Liverpool players for not winning the game. The reason they are not in the champions league is simply because they weren’t good enough. However, the reason Steven Gerrard will lead Liverpool back to the top four this season is because he made himself and the players accountable for their failures of last season and he knows what success looks like.
To be successful in future interviews you must acknowledge what may have gone wrong in the past, make yourself accountable for whatever mistakes were made, don’t blame other people, commit to doing a better job next time and visualise your success. Just like Stevie G!!!