Mastering the Game: 7 Rules for Succeeding at Interviews

Right now, we’re in the middle of what is being termed The Great Resignation.

In 2020, there were a lot of redundancies and many people didn't feel comfortable leaving their job because the market didn't feel secure.  

Now things have changed. It’s now a candidate-led market and every week I see at least one Influence & Impact member interviewing or celebrating the success of a new job.  

I always see interviews as a bit of a game.  What you need to do at interview is show that you understand the game and that you can jump through the hoops. Once you’ve done that successfully, then the balance of power moves from the organisation to you. 


Here’s 7 rules I share with my I&I members in my audio course Instant Interview Confidence.   


1: The balance of power starts with the interview panel 

They set the rules of the game and bar anything discriminatory, they get to ask whatever question or set whatever task they want.  

Your role is not to second guess that or judge their questions. Instead, your role is to work out what they’re really asking, what they really want to see from you and how you can communicate that with integrity to yourself while still jumping through their hoops.  


2: Do your research, due diligence and ask strategic questions 

This isn’t just to make you look good in the interview. You need to be certain of the environment you might be entering and the expectations of your role.  

For example, I was going for a fundraising role and didn’t check the organisation’s annual accounts or see that they had been spending beyond their means and their reserves were low. That meant when I joined, my role was under a lot of pressure to quickly raise a high amount of money.  


3: Blow your own trumpet 

Interviews are one of the only places (in the UK) where it is socially acceptable, and in fact, completely necessary to blow your own trumpet. There is no room for modesty in an interview.  

Absolutely refer to your team and how you support them but remember, they’re not hiring your team, they’re hiring you. You want your interview panel to be able to picture you doing what the role requires and you need to illustrate that for them.  


4: Your energy is important 

You want to make sure that you’re bringing the right energy to the interview. Be aware that a lot of communication of emotion and energy is nonverbal. It's not just about the words you say, it's your body language and how you say those words.  

Be conscious of how you greet people, how you sit, how expressive you are and how much energy and enthusiasm is behind what you’re saying.  


5: The balance of power shifts as soon as they offer you the role 

Once they offer you the role, they have identified that they really want you and the balance of power shifts your way. This is when you can question and assess your fit with the role and organisation. If you have any doubts, put them aside until you get that offer - don't let them cloud your mind during the interview process.  

Now is the time to them ask for more information if you need it. If you have more grilling questions, ask to have an informal meeting with the team or a coffee with someone you’ll be working closely with. 


6: You don't have to say yes to the job straightaway  

It's only when you actually have the role that you know how you feel about it and whether you’re excited, you've got some nagging doubts or you're just genuinely unsure. It’s ok to ask for some time to think about it.  

Always give a positive response, say that it’s a big decision for you and you would like a day to think, talk to a loved one and get back them. This is also your opportunity to ask any extra questions.  

You shouldn’t feel pressured to take the role straight away if you don’t feel ready. Just make sure you decide and get back to them within the time you’ve said.  


7: Trust your Intuition  

Your intuition is a really powerful thing in interviews so don’t hesitate to trust it. Just make sure it is your intuition talking and not fear talking.  

If it makes you feel empowered, it's your intuition talking. If it makes you feel scared, or just wanting to stay safe, then that's fear talking. 


Instant Interview Confidence 

Right now, you can get exclusive access to my audio course, Instant Interview Confidence. I teach the seven steps to succeeding at an interview from preparation to mindset and answering difficult questions. You’ll get seven audio recordings that you can download and keep forever.  

Find out more here 



Listen to the full episode on the Influence & Impact podcast on Carla’s websiteAppleSpotify or Stitcher 

For more articles on the issues that impact women leaders at work follow Carla Miller on LinkedIn

Find out about the various ways Carla works with women leaders and organisations on her website


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