I have lost count of the amount of candidates I have interviewed who were very strong on paper but were just a big disappointment in the actual interview. Limited energy and passion, no warmth, no hunger. Technically competent? Yes. Someone who I would want to hire? Not so much.

technically strong candidates often enter an interview confident that their CV will get them hired

When I see this pattern repeated over and over, the conclusion I draw is that technically strong candidates often enter an interview confident that their CV will get them hired. They put too little preparation and effort into the interview itself. Why? Partly because job advertisements typically highlight competency requirements ahead of behavioural requirements. Large organisations are exemplars of the “division of labour” principle, and typically frame hiring / recruitment policies based around education and skills first. So I think there is a prevailing mindset out there that education, experience and technical skills are the main drivers for employers.



To be clear, think about it this way. Your CV does serve a very important purpose. The purpose is to secure you an interview. That’s it.

Think of your CV as getting you a ticket into an audition for a theatre show. Once you are through to the auditions, you have to perform on stage. If you bomb the stage performance, its game over, irrespective of how good your CV says you are. 

OK, I’m being a little over dramatic. But the point I’m making is, in a world where many competent people are competing for the same job, it is how you perform at the interview that gets you hired.  As I highlight in this article, your interviewer is making spontaneous subconscious judgments about you the very second he first sees you.

Your non-verbal communication – your appearance, your posture, your expression – counts critically to creating trust, to sending signals that you will fit in, be a team player, be manageable.

Of course your CV is your backstory, your foundation of where you are today. But if you don’t come across with authenticity, or you seem too over zealous or ego-centric, or you are frankly just dull, you won’t get hired.

Hiring managers know that managing people is a very challenging task, and they will not make their lives even harder by hiring someone who doesn’t ‘feel’ right. As this fantastic Netflix corporate culture slideshow puts it so clearly (on slide 35): we don’t tolerate brilliant jerks!

So, to prepare effectively, be tough on yourself. Assume your CV counts for nothing and you have to prove yourself all over again in your interview. Pretty much all of my content on this site is geared precisely towards the goal of enabling you to truly perform at your interview, so ensure you take advantage!


Need help with your interview preparation? Download my FREE guide “101 Top Tips for Interview Success

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Image credits: Shutterstock

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