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How The World Cup Can Score You Your Dream Job

30 Apr 2018

Brendan McCarron

With the past few weeks of football over-indulgence and the high drama of the penalty shootouts, I started thinking about similar high-pressure situations. There are similarities between a successful penalty kick and a successful interview which I thought Iā€™d share here.

1: Pre-match tactics

Researching which way a goalkeeper tends to move or where a player prefers to put the penalty.


Coach’s comments:
Research before an interview gives you the edge over your competition. Be better informed on who you are going to be speaking with on the day, how the company is structured, where they operate, what are their values/mission statement. I will always spend 20-30 minutes covering standard and specific interview preparation with applicants to ensure they have the tools to succeed.

2: Put ‘em under pressure under the spotlight

Remaining able to think clearly, maintain focus and keep composure.
Coach’s comments:
Stay on track during the interview and get the job done – try not to over talk, drift from the point or go off on a tangent, talk too fast, or over-talk your interviewer. Remember your competitors are nervous too and whoever can maintain their cool will likely perform best in the interview.

3: 4-4-2 or 5-3-2?

Research is important but people can change things up and as a result interview styles and structures can be varied. competency, panel, presentation, a more open conversational style… there are several ways a company may ‘line-up’ their interviews. iStock-813439748
Coach’s comments:

Try not to form an expectation or be caught out by the unexpected. Practicing your approach to all of the above styles can help you adjust when in the interview room and ensure you come out on top. For specific experience or skills-based questions, I would always coach candidates on how to structure their answers utilising the STAR technique (situation, task, action, result). I would help applicants to prepare some stock answers for competency based questions. When a presentation is involved, I supply some best-practice tips and go through several drafts at the earliest stage possible, in order to get the best version.

4: The magic sponge

Not every spot-kick will get over the line. Often you hit the post while some are saved by the goalkeeper. On the odd occasion you can put the ball clear over the bar.
Coach’s comments:

Not every interview will go to plan and you will not always deliver your best performance in every interview. Sometimes you are pipped at (or hit) the post. It is entirely acceptable for someone with deeper or more specific experience to get hired ahead of you. This only serves to outline potential future development areas. At other times your interview performance may just let you down on the day and understanding how this translates will help you to improve going forward. Regardless, receiving the right feedback will allow you to learn and adapt. I will always strive to obtain as much feedback as possible and honestly feel this is one of the most important aspects of the service I deliver.

In addition, dusting yourself down and getting back in the saddle next time round is the most important thing and carrying forward key learns from previous interviews. So next time you have a sub-par interview experience, reach for the magic sponge and keep going.

Hopefully you can carry forward a few of these pointers to your next interview, or else become a spot-kick supremo.

 Brendan McCarron, Assistant Manager of Brightwaters HR Division.