Job Interviews – Why are they so difficult?

Gives you cold chills down the spine when you just think of it?

Does not matter if you are the company looking for people or the people looking for jobs, let’s be honest – It is rough.


It is potentially a life altering event for the applicant and a significant risk / reward moment for an organisation.

Yup, everybody is experiencing apprehension on a significant level.

Social Anxiety


What do you do to overcome all this?

Before the interview – DO HOMEWORK!!!!!!

The more you know about the company, the candidate the job, the requirements, the expectations and the process the calmer you will be. Plan the route there carefully, dress appropriately, arrive early and know who it is that you will meet.

Yes I know, this advice you can get from your mother…… 🙂

NOW for the good stuff – – –

The Interview

Be polite and get comfy (as much as you can) and notice that everybody is slightly nervous.

There will be introductions, short explanations of why everybody is there. There may even be chit-chat to get everybody relaxed. Don’t unravel with too much chatter.

Then it starts, they would like to know stuff about you.

One word -> BRIEF (Keep it short, they shouldn’t care about your cousins dog and it’s weird skin condition.)

Now for the hardest part:


Turn the conversation around. Find out what they need……


Listen – If you do this the right way, they will tell you the following:

  • What they need – usually in order of importance
  • What they want – usually in order of preference
  • What they wish for – usually in order of desirability

Try everything you know to distinguish these things (while listening) and remember the things that you can pick up as being important.


Before you open your mouth to answer – Decide – DO I WANT THIS?

If no, thank them for their time and effort. They will be curious as to why you have made this choice. Tell them – briefly. Exiting now would leave a lasting impression on them and ON YOU. Very few things boosts an ego more that the ability to effectively choose and act upon that decision. This is more difficult than it sounds, but you will respect yourself in the morning……

If yes, then start by addressing THEIR needs, and wants and wishes. They are the ones doing the hiring; they want to hear how someone will address their needs. Be brutally honest – if there is something u can’t do (or you are not sure you can do) tell them.


Each one of these elements that they are looking for requires a mixture of three things – Skill –Knowledge – Attitude.

Address each of their needs, wants and desires showing how you will employ these elements to address their problems. This may take some time – take it, it is yours…….

Happy Jump

Got it!!!!


Make it abundantly clear that you WANT THIS JOB. Ask them directly to give you the chance to prove the statements that you have made. If you want this badly enough, remuneration, amount of leave days and other “technicalities” will fall by the wayside.

You are here to hook them, GET THE SALE. The rest of the stuff will follow…..


Walk away. It is DONE. They will call or they won’t. You have done your thing. It they choose someone else – good luck to that person and them.

Rule 7

Irrespective of how things went – be proud of what you did. You can be critical, but only to the extent that it will improve the next interview.

Now for the pitch – get my book “The Management Imperative” my mother says it is gooooood.

Please leave a comment – I value and appreciate your opinions…..


9 thoughts on “Job Interviews – Why are they so difficult?

  1. LinkedIn Group: Leeds Metropolitan Alumni
    It is possible to rehearse for interviews I give my clients 70 plus interview questions to work through then conduct videoed mock interviews with feedback. Practice does make perfect including preparing a statement to answer the ‘tell me about yourself statement’ the reply should reflect the post applied for and be no longer than 90 seconds.

    Practice does make perfect so do expect to get the interview right first time if you know of people in business get them to give you a mock session and review your CV.

    Always answer factually not in theory be honest straightforward and think what the employer is after – cant you fit the bill. If you got to the interview stage you must at least have an 85% fit for the job so be confident.

    They will throw the odd curved ball at you just to rattle you so be prepared challenge the question and always have questions to ask. t

    There’s no perfect solution but practice does help to steady the nerves for the real event
    Posted by Keith Harris

    LinkedIn Group: Innovation People Expert Innovators Creative Network
    I did not read the link but the answer to your question is very easy. They are difficult because the interviewer believes to be in control, belives you are stupid and will try to put you down. The point of a good interviewer is the opposite, to find the right person for a specific role. To find that out, you have to go deep into the psiche of the person, not tryiong to put the person down.
    Posted by Alberto M. Correa

    LinkedIn Group: How to Self Publish A Book

    It depends on which side of the desk you are sitting. Most managers have not been formally trained how to interview so it may be difficult for them to determine if the candidate is the right one for them.

    On the other hand, most candidates only have a little training in interviewing (unless they are in sales or beauty pageants) and so the process is just as foreign for them.

    Doesn’t it make you wonder how successful matches are ever made?
    Posted by Bill Humbert, RecruiterGuy

    LinkedIn Group: The Social Media Marketing Group
    Hi Anton:

    I think you gave some good advice that I’d like to piggyback on just a bit. One of the difficulties people face is that they tend to have expectations about how interviews are supposed to go and they try to prepare accordingly. The problem is that the interviewers often deviate from the “standard script”, sometimes drastically, and this can throw people way off their game. (I spent several years doing placement work before changing careers myself so I’m basing this on lessons learned.)

    Interviewers deviate for a number of reasons, sometimes simply because they’ve never actually received any “interview training” and they’re basically winging it. Some personality types are also more extreme than others and will tend to interview accordingly. When you have an introvert on one side of the desk and an extrovert on the other (doesn’t matter which side) you’ll often have an uncomfortable meeting regardless of either party’s skills or qualifications.

    Since interviewing is inherently unpredictable my advice to people is to focus on what they can control, which is their preparation. That should boil down to self-examination followed by finding a way to articulate why they are interested in their profession/line of work, what they can offer, and why they are interested in the particular job. They need to be able to talk about how they’ve dealt with problems in previous or current job, and they need to express all of their answers in positive terms.

    I used to explain to people that being positive WAS NOT about being some kind of sickening Pollyanna. It was because interviews are meetings between strangers that last a short period of time. Negativity inevitably leads down pathways that won’t help you get the job, and how much of your precious time do you want to spend trying to explain negatives instead of explaining why you can do/want to do their job? So, for example, instead of explaining what you don’t like about your current job, you explain what you DO like about their job. “My job has taught me a lot about xxxx and my boss is great and I have some good friends there. But I’ve reached the point where I’m ready for the next step and your job will give me the chance to la la la.” You get the idea.

    So, preparing yourself and working on presenting positives can go a long way to easing interview experiences. After that you also have to chalk certain things up to fate. Sometimes you are going to run into people that you simply don’t click with and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you’re going to suffer because the other party sucks at interviewing. Sometimes they’re going to hire their best friend’s nephew even though you’re more qualified. And most of the time, if you get rejected, you will not be told the reason why. That’s frustrating but it is also the norm and you are not alone in suffering that frustration. So, hard as it can be, don’t take it personally. Rejection is not a statement about you. It really, really isn’t.
    Posted by Paula Apynys

    LinkedIn Group: Technology Executives
    Great article. Be confident and also try to enjoy them rather than fear them.
    Posted by Matthew Keane, CSM, CPO, CIO – Philadelphia

    LinkedIn Group: Smart Leaders – Leadership Education And Development for Leaders Executives And Directors
    It is not just Job interviews. Any interview is difficult. I interviewed month or two ago for business purposes. I am a sole proprietor of a recycle business. I finally discussed why I do not cook. I am NOT a poor cook I do not want to cook. Interviews no matter what the reason are a NECESSARY evil. THE GET-TO-KNOW-YOU important and a part of our way of living and working.

    Posted by Rose Watkins

  2. Great article! I also coach people to make sure the interviewer does most of the talking, studies have shown who ever let’s the interviewer speak the most gets the job. Sounds odd but it goes back to the interviewer liking what they hear! Yes they are hearing themselves! Nervousness is ok, and good HR people know this and will not hold it against a candidate, unless it is excessive.

  3. I at this very moment, on my way to THE INTERVIEW! I am confident, I will apply all the important elements in this blog. I will achieve what I was striving for to get THE INTERVIEW / JOB. I hope my comment will help other job seekers.

  4. Well guess what FOLKs! I am going for a second INTERVIEW next week, they absolutely loved me.

  5. LinkedIn Group: The Social Media Marketing Group

    Cary & Sandra McGuckin • I am curious to know under rule #6,do you think it’s appropriate to send a thank you email and reitterating your interest and what you can bring to the table?

    Anton van den Berg • This may not seem like it, but I think is may be a trick question.

    Comment on Blog – I also coach people to make sure the interviewer does most of the talking, studies have shown who ever let’s the interviewer speak the most gets the job. Sounds odd but it goes back to the interviewer liking what they hear! Yes they are hearing themselves! (Mark A. Griffin)

    Marketing people often caution against “over-selling” – but: I think if it is done in a – Thank you for ……… – Style it can not hurt.

    Total answer – dependant on the situation and the person attending the interview would be the best to evaluate the possible positive contribution.

    From the other perspective, the organisation conducting the interview should send out a thank you note – purely as a professional gesture (my opinion)

    Wish I could be more “single minded” about this – hope it helps.

  6. thanks found this quite informative. been out for an interview 3 weeks ago. From what I have read here – I think I did not make it clear that I wanted the position. The client had expressed concerns about me taking the position and then using it until I found something more suited to me. My years in a corporate envirnoment had made them believe that I would not “down grade’ to their type of company – when in actual fact I really need that change.
    I will definitely bear this in mind for the future interviews.

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