You can’t tell by looking at a piece of paper
what some of the strengths and weaknesses really are
Kevin Kelly, hiring guru, quoted on

In almost every field, job seekers who rise to the top of their applicant pools will be interviewed.

Still, nearly all of the job seekers that I’ve coached – performers, educators, and others – have initially made the same mistake during the pre-interview period:

They assume that their interviewers will be skilled at interviewing and are prepared to interview them.

As a result, they misconstrue their role as interviewees and don’t recognize the extensive scope of interview preparation.

An Interviewee’s Role
An interviewee’s role is to comprehensively demonstrate his or her job-worthiness and leadership potential to an interviewer, irrespective of the expertise of the interviewer.

Job seekers, particularly those seeking music and arts jobs, should not assume that the people who will interview them will be competent at interviewing and will draw out of them all pertinent information. On occasion, the people involved in interviewing job candidates possess such scant knowledge of interview practices that they are incapable of drawing out much pertinent information.

Job seekers should therefore dispel any notion that their role during interviews will solely entail providing answers to well-crafted questions.

Demonstrating Value
Interviewees should be prepared to demonstrate that they offer uncommon value to an organization, exceeding any would-be employers’ expectations.

How can you do that? At minimum, interviewees must ensure that their interviewers will decisively conclude “yes” when wondering about the following three key concerns (via George Bradt on

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you love the job?
  3. Can we tolerate working with you?

Preparing for Interviews
With these issues in mind, here are some preparation tips, tied to the above three concerns, to help rising professionals triumph at interviews. Also review guidelines on sites such as and LinkedIn as well as in my post “Ace Your Interview.”

  1. Create your talking points and any presentations far in advance, and then practice. Prepare to give evidence that you meet a position’s qualifications, are equipped to perform the required duties, and that you’ll eagerly learn new skills. If you’re a novice at interviewing or need to build confidence, do mock interviews with one or more mentors, and be sure to video-record.
  2. Emanate enthusiasm. Be passionate about your field and the position you seek; articulate a succinct vision. In tandem, research your prospective employer and colleagues, and plan to ask questions about their projects and visions, demonstrating your interest in the field.
  3. Display warmth and professionalism. Through your amiable yet polished demeanor, make it clear that you’d bring collegiality to an organization.

In sum, interviewing effectively with possible employers involves skills that require practice and feedback. Even so, because most of us seldom interview for jobs, to excel at interviews, we have to prepare for them meticulously.

Related posts
The 3 Roots of Performance Anxiety
Ace Your Interview

Applying for Faculty Positions

Artistic Vision

© 2012 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © ARENA Creative, licensed from

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