Interviewing is a staged, contrived event. It is like what Winston Churchill said about democracy: “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Interviewing (and any amount of the sophisticated testing, screening, etc.) is still the best employee selection process free enterprise has been able to come up with.
But it’s important to realize that interviewing is not a total reflection of either you or the company that you are interviewing with. Although the concept purports the idea that the job interview is a mutual evaluation of your record, talents, and a prediction of how you’re going to perform in the future, as well as your personal evaluation of the organization, it is rarely any of these.
Each party in the process of interviewing is putting his or her best foot forward—and rightfully so. Candidates are responsible for selling themselves to the employer, trying to convince the employer that they’re the best person for the job. The company, or the individuals representing it, is trying to find the best person to do the job and, at the same time, both selling the company and screening out the candidates they do not think will be capable of doing the job or fitting in.
If you think about it hard enough, this fact will dawn on you. But when people don’t change jobs very often, they forget this and are “reminded” about it four or five interviews too late. Take notice: Interviewing is a staged, contrived event.