Interview Fatigue: Don't Drop Your Guard!

Interviewing for an HR job in Asia can involve many rounds. Matrix reporting lines, geographically dispersed stakeholders and an abundance of business units within businesses can mean that a typical job interview can often run to six, eight or even more rounds. We have experienced interview processes for senior HR positions that have involved up to 15 rounds!

Surviving all the way to the end and getting a job offer can be feat of endurance. To maximise your chances of making it to the finish, here are some important considerations :

1) Don’t Assume that the Interviewer at this Round Knows What You Said at the Last Round

Often an interviewer will not know what has been said to a previous interviewer. This is sometimes due to the difficulties of co-ordinating feedback from a wide assortment of stakeholders, but is more often done to preserve impartiality between the different interviewers. So even at late-stage interviews, be prepared to summarise your background and don’t be afraid to repeat the answers that you may have previously given. Potential employers want to know that you answer questions consistently each time you’re asked them.

2) Don’t Assume that Each Interviewer Has Actually Seen Your Résumé

An interviewer may have been busy and not printed off your résumé, or may not have had time to read it. So it can be good practice to weave a succinct summary of your background into your answers during the interview. Some people like to carry a spare résumé or two to the interview, just in case they’re asked. In any case, don’t assume that an interviewer knows everything about you.

3) Don’t Assume the Interviewer Already Knows Whom You Have Met

It can be smart to mention to each interviewer whom you have already met from the company during the interview process, as well as what you have learned from each discussion. Be sure not to breach confidentiality from one interviewer to the next, and to refrain from making value judgments about anyone you have so far encountered.

4) Don’t Get Distracted by the Other Interview Steps that Lie Ahead of You

Some people can trip up by concentrating too much on the next three steps ahead and not thinking about the interview at hand. Concentrate just on this interview and don’t get either impatient or complacent about the process ahead.

5) Don’t Think that Just Because You’re Nearing the End, You’ll Get the Job

Recently we had someone who went through ten rounds of interview and then had one final meeting that was pitched as a ‘mere formality’. Unfortunately for the person, this final meeting was a disaster, and the offer did not come through. Try to stay focused on making it to the end – the only time to ease off is when you’ve signed the offer.

6) Don’t Talk Negatively About Your Current Employer or Previous Employers

At every stage, remember to talk constructively about why you have left your previous jobs or any career mistakes. If something has frustrated you in your current or previous roles, talk about what you learned from the experience and how it will help you in the future.

7) Don’t Get Too Comfortable with an Interviewer and Become Too Casual

While we are big proponents of being yourself in an interview, try to avoid letting your chat turn too casual. We’ve seen people perform well only to let their guard down by saying inappropriate comments, and forgetting they are in still in the formalised setting of an interview.

8) Don’t Adopt a One-Size-Fits-All Approach to an Interview

Try and find out what type of interview you will be undergoing. Will it be a casual coffee chat? Will it be a structured behavioural and competency based interview? Could it be a panel interview where you are talking to multiple people at once? Prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

9) Don’t Forget to Research and Show an Interest in the Company Throughout the Process

We experience plenty of people getting caught out by not doing their homework on a potential employer. At minimum, view the company’s website and make sure you’re abreast of the company’s recent news before every interview. For an objective assessment, look at sites like Wikipedia and ask people ‘in the know’ to give you their impressions of the company. At interview, demonstrate this understanding. Also, don’t talk too much about your current company in a way that looks like you will struggle to adjust to a new company. We had someone rejected recently because they didn’t show a passion for the company they were interviewing for. Harsh but fair.

10) Talk With the Interviewer, Not At the Interviewer

The normal rules of conversation apply at an interview, with an added emphasis on being articulate and direct with your delivery. Avoid rambling statements that don’t answer the question or that provide too much information. Pepper your answers with useful evidence and facts rather than generalised information. Wait for the interviewer to drill down more into areas in which they are interested. If you are not confident that the answer has ‘hit the mark’ with the expectation of the interviewer, then ask the question “Did I answer your question properly?”. Most importantly, connect with the interviewer as a person. Be sure to learn more about them during the interview, and do your best to create chemistry between yourselves.


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