How Interviews are Just About the Power Game

Meetings are about the art of role-playing. Almost all of them. Apart from, of course, the ones where you meet your closest confidants. Even friends group have clear power equations. I had read somewhere that it takes 10 seconds for a person to decide the power equation in any conversation. I would say it takes 5 minutes if you play an underdog. But it is difficult to drag beyond that. Your body language, confidence, smile- everything gives strong signals and may very well work or go against you.
During my time at CollegeBol, I’ve interviewed many hundreds of candidates. Everyone has a different interview style. Some people like to sit with the candidate for 45 minutes and then ask them to come once more. Mine was different. I would sit with them for 20 minutes at max. I would prepare beforehand what I would want to know the person. When in an interview, I would always observe more than responding. If the person is terribly nervous, I would make the vibes a little more comfortable. I wouldn’t want to miss a really good candidate just because he/she was nervous on a particular day. If the person was over-confident, I would try to dissect and break it. As simple as that.
While Over-Confidence can kill, Self Assessment is the best. One must have an indication of whether one has an Upper Hand in an interview. At times you can know about it beforehand. If an urgent hiring needs to happen, etc.

If You Know You Have An Upper Hand

  1. Don’t Blow it Off: There are common traps such as excessive bragging, too much talking, and speaking lies which make you lose your upper hand. An interview is like juggling. You need to know which ball to catch and what it means. Active listening during interviews helps. Everyone likes to be heard. If you didn’t understand, politely ask to repeat. If you still don’t have the answer, admit that you don’t.
  2. Never say Yes Immediately: No matter how urgent it is. Do not say yes, I will work with you, in the first meeting. It makes the person feel that they have you in their hands. Most of the times, it backfires in the salary negotiations. At the same time, do not be rude. If you get an immediate offer, politely make your goal: “It looks like this company has all the right things. Give me a day or two to get back? It will also help the company to evaluate me.”
  3. Never, Ever Say No Immediately on Face: Have you heard the phrase, “What goes around, comes around?” It’s actually like that. Today you are sitting in front of a company having an upper hand and a better job offer, tomorrow this same company might be your only option. Never say, “No.” in a way that hurts anyone’s ego. You can be very cordial and say, “I am sorry I am planning to take up something else. But would love to work with you guys sometime in the future. Please keep in touch.” Never blow up relations.

If You Know You Have A Lower Hand

  1. Don’t Look Desperate: As much as you’d like to believe, no one recruits for charity. Like if you meet someone for an arranged marriage and they go down on their first meeting, “I love you, please marry me, please please please!” Would you say yes to them, no? Even if you don’t use these words, never make it appear like you are desperate.
  2. Do Background Research: Always, Always, Always look up the company before you go. Either on the internet or ask people around. Know what the job role is. Don’t go inside like a dumb person who doesn’t know shit.
  3. The Only Image Management You Need to Do: I don’t believe that a good suit or good heels would let you land up in a job. As much as dressing decently is important, the more important thing is that you have all the basic answers. Practice the answer to, “Tell Me Something About Yourself.” Just do it. Look into the mirror, role-play with a friend, but don’t screw it up.
  4. Mention Your Positives With Confidence: At times when you interview as a fresher, people try to intimidate you saying, “Oh, you are a fresher, you know nothing.” Try to think of smart answers. Freshers are supposed to bring in fresh ideas while learning. They have the benefit of being unbiased and hence finding improvements in any process. Freshers deserve respect.
  5. If Nothing Works, Try and Be Nice and Pleasing: Make the interviewer feel that you understand what they are trying to say. Genuinely listen. Make sure you tell them that, “I am always ready to learn and un-learn. I am always ready to accept mistakes and quickly correct them.” This sort of rectifies your interview mistakes (unless you have been caught lying, nothing can undo that). Every founder/HR wants a learner.

The Circle of Salary Negotiations

If you want to be happy eventually, do not get into a company who negotiates 1000 or 2000 bucks with you, like you were a vegetable or something.

There are no definitive answers or tricks to crack interviews or anything in life for that matter. Everyone has their own choice. No job interview is the last one on this earth. There are always second chances. “Be your own self. Everyone else is taken.”


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