Several years back, I attended a workshop with an early Amazon recruiter. I’ll never forget what he said: “I’ve interviewed so many people, for so many different roles, I can fool you into thinking I am terrific at jobs I’ve never had.” –Source
Thinking about this should cause all of us to stop and question how we approach our own interviews and the people we interview. When being interviewed, should we focus on trying to fool the person that’s interviewing us?
I’d suggest that this is generally a failed strategy, but there is a balance. When I think back to all of the jobs I’ve ever been hired to do, I really wasn’t qualified for any of those jobs. To some degree, I was applying for jobs for which I wasn’t fully qualified. However, are we really ever qualified for any job?
In every position, there are always new things to learn. This is especially true in the technology world which changes so quickly. This means that you’re often having to be hired or hiring someone who isn’t qualified to do the job. This is why other general skills are so important. For example, are they a hard worker? Do they learn things quickly? Are they a team player that can collaborate with others (and learn from them)? These all become the most important characteristics of anyone you want to hire.
With this in mind, does that mean that we should fool the interviewer in order to get the job? I don’t think so. Certainly, you want to present yourself in the best light possible, but trying to fool the interviewer into thinking you have skills which you don’t have is going to catch up with you sooner or later. It’s never fun when it catches up to you.
At the end of the day, the better strategy is to be your authentic self. That’s what the person interviewing you should want from you anyway. If you’re not a perfect fit for a position but you think you could do the job, find ways to share how you’re someone who can learn and adapt to new situations. That’s a much better strategy than trying to fool the interviewer.
Have you ever fooled someone in a job interview? Have you ever been fooled by someone you were interviewing? What were the results?