Theory versus practice – feedback on interviews

Having complained about one stretch, let me indulge myself in another. Christmas is a time for giving and, as one of my colleagues never tires of telling me, feedback is a gift. It’s not one to over-enthuse about or to unwrap on a tinsel-festooned morning to the backdrop of turkey and sprouts, but it’s no less valuable for all that. It’s a gift we can fail to give proper consideration, despite its integral role in making us more competitive or better able to deliver. So here’s my version of it.

Firstly, the market is busy. There have been many pitches this month and lots of movement at senior level in chief executive, finance and operations roles. That means more job opportunities. It means more interviews.

Candidates regularly fall down here. Headhunters too, at pitch stage. More often than not, the feedback is that answers weren’t rooted in something tangible or beneficial to the audience: responses were too theoretical, too hypothetical, or seemed to come out of a manual. There’s a big gap between what you’re talking about and what you’ve achieved. No point blaming bad interviewers – they’re ten a penny. It’s up to you to respond according to what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. You have to draw on things that can be directly applied to the issues your interviewer is facing. You have to show your applied experience.

So, back to work. Interviews all week. On my train platform are three words. Mind the Gap. Not the most exciting of gifts, but certainly apt.

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