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Interview lessons learned from our politicians

With all the hullabaloo leading up to the federal election, there’s a thing or two we can learn from our favourite politicians when it comes time for an interview.

Just like the relentless networker, politicians have a reputation for being pushy, loud and, quite often, aggressive. We elect them based on trust — trust in who can do the job best — and their personality has a lot to do with how we perceive them.

Politicians have a tendency to bring out the attack card to gain credibility, but guaranteed it won’t work for you. If you bash a former colleague in an interview, you’ll just end up looking like the difficult one.

If someone really made your prior job impossible, think about ways you can explain your difficulties without playing the blame game. Turn your challenges into opportunities.

For example, if someone at your last workplace frequently dropped the ball on communications, don’t go on about it. Instead, you might want to say that you’re looking for a company that encourages teamwork. Think positive and avoid the negative.

If the hiring manager asks you a really pointed question, don’t dodge and deflect (the well-trained politician’s best PR card).

If you don’t feel comfortable answering a question, let them know you’d prefer to answer that one in a second interview. Making up an answer or giving them the runaround won’t help you sell yourself.

Hiring managers take a look at your background to assess your potential. It may seem obvious, but exaggerating your qualifications will give them a false sense about your capabilities.

The worst-case scenario is that they hire you and you can’t perform according to their expectations, which can be a letdown all around. Be honest, and don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Last but not least, take advantage of the opportunity to create a conversation so they can get to know you.

Your skills and prior experience are already on your resumé. An interview is your chance to bring out your personality and win them over.

Oh, and don’t forget to smile.

Rock Your Interview

• Don’t attack colleagues.
• Turn the negative into the positive.
• Be honest.
• Smile!