The Presidential Debate proved one very important thing about interviews…

…Preparation matters.

One of the most startling contrasts between the two candidates in Mondays debate was that one had incredibly detailed preparation and the other seemed largely prepared to wing it and rely instead on personality and “braggadociousness”
I rose extra early on Tuesday morning to watch the debate before heading into work and whilst initially engaging it rapidly descended into what I felt was a one sided contest with noticeable preparedness (both for the debate and for the presidency) being the distinguishing factor.
I found it interesting to read that Hillary Clinton prepared for two versions of Trump depending on whether the aggressive and dismissive version of Trump showed up or whether a more subdued and “presidential” Trump was in attendance.  At all times throughout the debate it was very clear that Hilary had a full command of facts as they applied not just to her own campaign, but also her opponents and this to me provided a clear advantage both in terms of the adversarial debate but also in the context of controlling the narrative and delivery of key arguments.
Having interviewed thousands of individuals throughout the course of my career you can clearly differentiate between those who have prepared in advance and those who have not.
Three important things happen when you prepare well for an interview:
1. You communicate more fluently and confidently as the information is fresh in your mind
2. You allow for a more detailed interview through demonstrating a strong grasp of your career record and achievements
3. You demonstrate through actions your interest in the role
Interestingly the most likely group of professionals not to prepare for interview are those with greater levels of experience. The “Trump” approach let’s call it is a reliance on the day to day knowledge professionals have that allows them to navigate an interview without particular difficulty. Whilst this level of preparation is often sufficient, I can’t help but feel it sells you short.
Having information on the market, the employer and maybe performance metrics from your desk are things that sometimes even experienced professionals need to think about in advance. These are just three minor examples of data that can help push a good interview to a great interview meaning potentially more negotiating room for you at the business end of the process.
Watching Trump during the debates on Monday left me with the strong impression that he didn’t prepare in any sufficient way. This is a startling indictment considering since the days of Kennedy and Nixon the debates have been a deciding factor for many American voters.
Do you have any interview preparation habits or views on Tuesday’s debate?
The Presidential Debate proved one very important thing about interviews… written be Robert Connolly for Amicus Recruitment