Job Interviews and the Olympics: Less like Gymnastics, more like Swimming IM

 Job Interview OlympicsThis week, I learned something valuable watching the Olympics. Just last night, I saw highlights of the individual medley (IM) swimming event - where one swimmer does four different strokes in succession, and the individual gymnastics competition, particularly the balance beam.


Here's what I've observed:

Yes, there is only one winner at each of these events, yet how this winner is chosen is different. 


See, in gymnastics, the judges' job is to start with a perfect score, and then deduct points for every mistake that the person makes. "Oh, her foot slipped off the balance beam. Deduct a quarter point."


Swimming is different. The goal is just to touch the wall first. Every single swimmer in the individual medley has strong strokes and weak ones, moments of advantage and disadvantage. Yet, these elements aren't how the athlete is judged. Rather the athlete is judged on who touches the wall first, whose performance altogether reaches the goal of hand touching wall.


Now, if you think you are in a gymnastics style competition in a job interview, you can get yourself in trouble. Why?


Have you ever had that dream where you're back in school - you have a big test, and you don't know any of the answers? You just feel panic, that awful sensation in the pit of your stomach, and you feel your heart racing a mile a minute?


For individuals who get caught up with having "the right answer", they may experience similar panic in their interviews. 


And there is another problem that appears in gymnastics as well:


If like I did, you saw a couple of the Olympians who stumbled on the balance beam, you can see that their entire routine afterwards was not as smooth. As a result, one mistake while problematic, ended up creating a lot more damage.


The "right answer" mentality leads to similar problems: a lot of self-judgment, and distraction from reaching the ultimate goals of the interview. And one mistake can again become far more costly than it needs to be.


So, please, don't think this way in your next interview, that every answer has to be perfect.

Instead, recognize that an interview is about reaching three main goals, proving: You have the skills required to the job. You are excited about the work. You could be someone this person could work with on a daily basis.


Throughout the interview, you can work towards achieving these three goals. Like swimming the IM, there are points where you can shine, and points where you will need to push yourself through to stay in the race.


I hope you touch the wall first. 


To help you reach that goal, I recommend the Interview Success Formula online program. The program can take you step by step through the entire interview process. And your satisfaction is guaranteed. Learn more here. 


Read 3429 times Last modified on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 00:31
Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.