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What Can We Learn From Famous Interviews?

14 Jan 2019
Alasdair Murray

What Can We Learn From Famous Interviews

A job interview is a very strange example of human interaction. You have one person, usually semi-paralysed with fear and nerves, facing a panel of strangers asking them difficult questions and expecting insightful, eloquent answers. On paper it sounds nightmarish. Often in TV and cinema interviews are portrayed as hugely awkward situations where one person, usually the interviewee, crashes and burns, but what can we learn from this? We've picked some famous interviews to find out how we can avoid the mistakes the protagonists make and how you can improve your own interview experiences.

Blade Runner - keeping your cool

This iconic scene demonstrates the importance of keeping your cool in an interview. Sometimes interviewers can ask you difficult questions that will stump you – it happens to everyone. It’s important to remember to take your time; ask for a minute to collect your thoughts and formulate a good answer. A response that takes a minute to come up with will always be better than the first thing you blurt out. If you allow yourself to get flustered the interview will quickly slip out of your control and you’ll be on the back foot. Shooting the interviewer through a wall is absolutely not advised and may harm your chances of being called back for a second interview.

Office Space - honesty is the best moderation

Sometimes there really is such a thing as too much honesty. Without telling outright lies, make sure that all your answers paint you in the best possible light. For instance, if you’re asked why you want to leave your current job it’s best not to say “I hate my boss”; instead find a positive reason for wanting to leave, such as seeking more responsibility. Treading the line between honesty and lying shouldn’t be difficult in an interview, but brutal honesty isn't always the best policy – there’s a happy medium to be found.

The Simpsons - turn negatives into positives

Everyone dreads this question – what are your biggest weaknesses? It’s a nightmare to answer as you don’t want to give them your real weaknesses, as per Homer, nor do you want to give a cliched non-answer like Smither’s chums. Our advice is to mention a weakness, but also state how you’ve been working to remedy that weakness and self-improve. This will demonstrate self-awareness and initiative; both desirable traits in a potential employee.

The Office - be your own biggest fan

Marketing yourself doesn’t come naturally to many people. While Dwight is supremely confident in his abilities, for many it must be learned and practiced. While it’s best not to try and learn your interview answers verbatim (as you can never tell what an interviewer will ask or how they’ll phrase their questions), rehearsing a few stock lines about your skills and experience can help you feel confident when answering interview questions while allowing you the flexibility to answer any questions that come your way.

Mrs Doubtfire - interviews are no laughing matter, or are they?

Humour is a funny thing. Having a sense of humour is universally accepted as a positive trait, yet there are some circumstances where yours can act against you. A job interview is one such place. If you go in and start riffing off material from your stand-up routine, you’re almost certainly going to have a bad time. However, getting a few laughs out of your interviewers can ingratiate you with them – assuming that you stay professional and appropriate for the setting. We’d suggest stopping just short of Robin Williams’ approach in the clip above.

While the average interview tends not to go as badly as any of the examples above, it's still a good idea to be as prepared and confident as you can possibly be. If you're looking for a new opportunity or want to discuss your hiring process, just drop us an email  or give us a call on  0131 278 0659.


Alasdair Murray
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