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Why Interviewing is Like Dancing With The Stars

I admit it. In recent weeks, I have been pulled into the vortex that is Dancing With The Stars. I blame David Seymour. Why? Because he has made the watching so compelling!

It also got me thinking that that the recruitment interview process is so much like Dancing With The Stars, and here is why:

  • You have to know what the dance is.  

There is no point turning up for an interview when you don’t know anything about the role or the company.  It’s like dressing up for a salsa when you are expected to do a waltz. Do your homework, know what you are going into and make sure you’re not going to embarrass yourself through lack of preparation or asking the wrong questions.

  • You’ll need to practise.

All the dancers talk about how much work goes on behind the scenes.  Interviewing successfully is like that too - you need to practise and practise some more - grab a good list of interview questions, and get a mate to pretend they are interviewing you.  It sounds naff, but it is better than embarrassing yourself on the interview stage. The reality is that you won’t put your best foot forward unless you’ve done the hard yards.

  • You need to play the part.

Every good dance involves getting into the character.  Just as, when you are interviewing, you have to look the part, and act the part.  So, dress appropriately for the company you are interviewing for and look like you already have the role.  If you don’t look the part, you are unlikely to get the role.

  • You’ve got to put your best foot forward.

No one knows what else is going on in your life, how busy you are, how many other commitments you have or how “good you are all things considered”.  They are assessing you solely against your competition, so make sure you stand out. Ask questions that are smarter than your competition, be better prepared than your competition and make sure you know what makes you a strong candidate for the role.

  • You must use your emotions.

Your chances of interview success are limited if you’re low energy and on a downer in the interview.  So ensure that you use your enthusiasm and excitement for the role to help make the interview a great one.  (Not too much though, otherwise, you’ll come across a little like a maniac dancer who get’s booted off early in the series).  Managing your emotional self through what is a nerve wracking time is really important, so make sure you have an awareness of what you might do when you are stressed.

  • Finish Strongly or go home.

Make sure you leave the interviewer with the best impression of you.  Conclude on your interest in the role, what you hope the next steps are and importantly thank them for their time.  Failing to conclude successfully can leave the interviewer with a feeling like you’ve forgotten the last few steps, and you’ve left them hanging.

  • Respect the feedback.  

Sometimes you’ll get interview feedback that is confronting, just like sometimes you dance our heart out and are rewarded with lukewarm comments.  But respect the process and use any feedback to make your next interview your best yet.

  • The winner, sometimes isn’t the best dancer.

And this mostly is where David comes in.  Is he the best dancer? No. But did he cause more people to watch the show?  Did he create a following and almost a movement?  Yes.

Why is this? 

Because despite his dancing limitations - he has connected with the audience, he is relatable and he allows his personality to shine through.  He should have left weeks ago if it was just about his dancing skills, but he has managed to survive every dance off because of his ability to inspire, to engage, to laugh at himself and to know exactly what his strengths and weaknesses are.  

Importantly also - he is appealing to the real decision makers, who currently aren’t the very qualified judges - it is the audience at home who are voting madly for the guy.

Never ever forget that when you are interviewing, you can be the most qualified person for the role, but if you don’t connect with the decision makers, then you won’t win the job.

Disclaimer:  In case you were wondering, that twerk doesn’t really fit in to either interviews or dancing!!

Further Disclaimer:  This blog was penned, prior to David’s exit from the show!  To be fair, it was highly unlikely that he would win the show (in fact last night you could see the judges sigh with relief that he was bottom two!), but he has succeeded more than anyone imagined possible.

We are looking forward to seeing Winston next year…

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