If we see job interviews as tests, we will be too nervous, give off a low-confidence vibe, and choke. A better way is to see them as an exploration. As we might do if we already had the job, we turn our camera away from ourselves and focus on them. We ask questions and navigate by curiosity. And we remember that we are interviewing them (“How well does this role and company fit me?”) just as much as they are interviewing us.
Questions can cover the overall context, the specific goals, and the role: What is this company up to? What are they hoping to accomplish and why? What have they already tried? What’s working? What’s not? And why? What does this interviewer see as the problem and the opportunity? What’s their personal stake? How does this role contribute to the goal(s)? How will they know this role has been done well?
Of course, we can share how we might help and we are happy to answer their (scripted or not) questions. But by turning the camera and exploring, we open the door to a more natural, professional conversation, demonstrate what it will be like to work with us, and have a much less stressful time of it.
In your corner,
PS: If you’re finding it hard to turn the camera because they keep asking you (scripted or not) questions, try interjecting something like, “I am happy to answer your questions and feel I can do a better job with a bit more information about the organization and the role. May I ask you some questions?”
PPS: Sometimes you can’t turn the camera. Interviews for public sector roles, for instance, are frequently highly scripted so that every candidate is treated exactly the same. These interviews usually include time at the end for you to ask at least a couple of questions. Best advice: list ahead of time a few of the best questions you’d like to ask if given the opportunity. And be gracious.