The best interviews I have been involved in, be that as interviewee or interviewer, are those that flow as normal conversations. The less stilted and structured an interview is, I would say, the more successful it will probably be. The more likely it is that the real, relaxed you comes through.
In such circumstances, this will offer the opportunity for you to start to guide the conversation. Indeed the more senior you are and the role you are being considered for, the more likely it is that this will be expected of you. Here’s the opportunity for you to take the conversation to safe spaces where you will be strong and have plenty to talk about. So, prepare these zones beforehand and refer to them in your cv; additionally your research on the company should identify relevant spaces that your interviewer might like to go and take them there. Be subtle, but play to your strengths.
Some of the coaching work I do involves interview preparation. Often my client will be spending much time and energy sweating the questions that they might be asked and what hypothetical answers to these hypothetical questions might be. I always encourage this to be turned on its head. Either guide the conversation to where you want it to go (try dropping in phrases or comments to enable this), or ask questions en route to safe places. Remember most employers are looking for agile thinkers and leaders; demonstrate this from the off in your interview.
So, as best you can, be relaxed and treat the interview as a normal conversation. All the prep work you will have done in speaking to a wide range of people beforehand will leave you well prepared for the new conversation. Focus on the areas where you are strong and show yourself in your best light, and if that type of light is not right for them then that’s good to know; because the chances are the job is not right for you.
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