In the Running: Thoughts on Interviews
Fighting off the competition, being in the running, getting ahead of the game – there are many sports phrases that are interchangeable with career mantras.
With the Commonwealth Games well under way in Glasgow, it’s inspiring to see so many people dedicated to their passions. One runner’s thoughts on the Games really struck a chord when it comes to having competition, ringing true for both sports competitors and those in the working world.
They explained that whether you are up against many other runners or just a few, it makes no difference – they all have their own weaknesses, their own fears. Those could be the weather conditions, their own physical performance or an injury, but regardless, they are all dealing with their own concerns. They also have individual strengths and skills to their advantage, that will be significantly different to your own. He went on to say that this has led him to the belief that the only competition you need to be mindful of is yourself.
This perspective is incredibly important to bear in mind when it comes to interviewing. Walking into a waiting room and seeing other candidates, or simply being aware of how much competition there is for a role, can make you start to doubt your own capabilities. You can't control how the other candidates are feeling, whether they are well prepared, or concerned about their performance - the only performance you can be sure of is your own. The person who will win the role will be the one to ignore the rest, and focus on their own unique mix of skills and accomplishments. They will not allow their confidence to be shaken by anyone else, just like the Commonwealth competitor.
Of course, in a situation as highly pressurised as an interview, you are going to have the urge to compare yourself to others. When this happens, try to think of the following instead:
- What unique accomplishments do you have to your name?
- Why were you put forward to interview?
- How is your personal story different?
Ultimately, it's all about fit - there can only be one winner, but if the conditions are right for your racing style, or if the company is looking for exactly your mix of hard and soft skills, then it might not matter how many or few other competitors there are. The only thing that matters is you.
Do you compare yourself to others before an interview? How do you avoid it? Tell us in the comments below.