Job interview: the art of improvisation

To get the job of your dreams, it’s best to avoid prefabricated answers at the job interview, according to American researchers. Here are the reactions of two Quebec experts.

Careful preparation for the job interview is essential,” the candidates are told again and again. But the most important thing for job applicants is to be prepared… to be spontaneous,” say American researchers Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson in a recent article published in Harvard Business Review.

According to them, depending on the way he or she conducts the interview, the recruiter risks forming an opinion of the candidate based on fleeting impressions rather than on the answers. Especially if they are recited as a memorized score, they add.

Contact Dance
Associate Director at Matte Consulting Group, psychologist and certified human resources consultant Richard Matte shares the researchers’ opinion. However, he does not advise neglecting the preparation of the job interview. “There are three key issues: getting to know yourself, knowing how to talk about your past accomplishments, and knowing why and how you’re ready to take on the challenge. Anything else is improvisation. »

The specialist compares the first job interview – the one to make contact – to a waltz. “Let the interviewer lead the dance or you’ll be stepping on his or her toes. You have to let yourself be checked. If you try to take control of the interview to make a point, you can lose points. »

When you arrive at the appointment, simply remember these instructions: listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions and answer clearly and concisely. “You can never predict how a job interview will go. Adjust to the interviewer and don’t bury him or her in details or bookishly recited answers. “Finally, tolerate any silences that may occur during the conversation.

Working on oneself
Author of two books on preparing for a job interview (Éditions Septembre) and founder of Entrevues Conseils, Patricia St-Pierre also believes that many candidates are wrong to overdo it to impress the interviewer.

“The majority of people spend 80% of their preparation efforts learning about the company, and the remaining 20% copying and pasting answers taken from the Internet that “fit” with them, assuming what the employer wants to hear about them. It’s the opposite: we have to put 80% of our time into our skills. »

In preparation for a 30-90 minute job interview, a minimum of preparation is required, she says, echoing Matte’s comments: “At the end of the day, the recruiter wants to know if you can do the job and if you have the skills to do it. “In this regard, the ideal way to prepare is to link the requirements of the job to your own skills and experience.

Finally, if you feel uncomfortable, don’t pretend to ignore the elephant in the room,” advises Patricia St-Pierre. If you’re very nervous, for example, say it frankly and clearly.

She gives the example of a job interview to which she herself was invited a few years ago: just before entering the room where it was taking place, she noticed a huge stain on the back of her skirt. “It’s clear that the interviewers would notice it the moment I got up to go out! So I took the lead by mentioning that I had gotten dirty parking my car. »

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