It takes two to tango. Before they can step out onto a smoky Buenos Aires dance floor, however, before they even arrive at the venue and warm-up, a couple needs to have spent weeks or months or years individually practicing and perfecting their form.
The same is true of the two participants in an interview.
Upon entering the Argentine bar, a rehearsed interviewer demonstrates:
• Candidate Knowledge – a clear understanding of who the company or client is looking for; and
• Preparation – planning questions to test an applicant’s fit for the position.
Meanwhile, their practiced interviewee partner displays:
• Industry Knowledge – an understanding of the business and the company’s position;
• Experience – grit and/or good fortune to have tenure of 3-5 years with a recent company doing similar work as it can take that long to build a track record that shows results; and
• Education – industry or functional depth, speaking engagements or white papers, and, while often overrated, degrees and certifications.
Once met, the partners must warm up. Practiced interview participants exhibit:
• Consideration – they show up on time, or let their partner know if you have been delayed, need to re-schedule, etc.; and
• Communication Skills – an interview, much like a dance, is all about communication. They smile, establish a rapport, or make their partner laugh.
Then the music starts, and the interview tango commences. Successful interview tangoes incorporate:
• Open Ended Questions – paired with genuine answers and a bit of passion will take this conversational tango far;
• Specificity – nebulous questions or answers indicate a missed step. Experience is most effective when married to a company’s outlined goal; and
• Mess – dance can get messy, life and jobs can as well. Overcoming messy obstacles, to successfully complete a previous dance, however, demonstrate an ability to think outside the box whilst on your feet.
And then the music stops. There’s a last moment of communication between the two before they step away. Yes, the interview tango can be stressful or terrifying; inspiring or tepid. But danced well, a tango becomes the celebratory first step into an exciting professional future.