“I can see you becoming the next big male pop star!” said Louis Walsh. I had the same hopes for X Factor’s Aiden Grimshaw, my only hope in the FreshMinds X Factor sweepstake. Facing tough competition from Cher and One Direction, I hoped his angsty performances would win the hearts of Britain’s teeny-boppers (are they still called that?) and win me a share of my colleagues’ hard-earned cash.
And then the shock of Saturday night. Katie stayed (again). Aiden went. Why? We could talk about his below par performance in his song for survival. Or about his quiff. But the number one reason for Aiden’s departure has to be his likeability. Or lack of. The Great British public just wasn’t bought into this quirky young man.
As I reflected on this, it got me thinking about interviews. And more specifically, how to avoid being an Aiden. You see, you may be as intellectual as Stephen Hawkins or as commercial as Richard Branson but if you don’t get your interviewer liking you, you’ll struggle to get them bought into you as a person. With that in mind, take the following three points to heart to unleash your X factor on your interviewers:
Love your interviewer’s brand: Aiden came across as a little blasé as he sang his song for survival on Saturday. And when told he was leaving, he just said he fancied a beer. With Aiden, you always felt he was a bit too cool for school. Perhaps he felt the X Factor was slightly below him? Not good. Interviewers love meeting upbeat, positive candidates, people who are committed to them as a company, who are enthusiastic about the role and who love the brand. In the lead up to your interview, you need to be eating, breathing, living the brand. This isn’t just about doing your research, this is about valuing what they value, speaking their language back to them.
Give your interviewer reasons to believe: You need to help your interviewer believe in you as a candidate and as a person. This is more than a box-ticking exercise. Conveying your values, your drive, your personal motivations inside and outside of work will show the real you and help your interviewer to buy into you as a person. Let your personality shine through – interviewers aren’t interested in robots who tick competency boxes, they want real people with real passions who will add value to their business.
Tailor your content to your audience: It’s really important you consider your audience and think carefully about what they want to hear from you. Aiden often felt slightly self-indulgent as he chose songs he clearly enjoyed but that didn’t connect with his audience. Similarly in an interview situation, it’s vital you think about what information your interviewer needs from you. Don’t waffle, don’t get self-indulgent as you trail off irrelevant exploits. Be concise, tell it how it is, give facts and figures that back up your claims. Most of all, point to your experience that is objectively relevant for the role.
Demelza Bowyer is a candidate manager on our Graduate Team at FreshMinds Talent