The Purpose of an Interview — Hope You’re Not a Serial Killer

Posted: 07/09/2010 in Interviewing
Tags: , , , , , ,

When you interview for a job, it isn’t just about your qualifications. The employer has already seen your resume, cover letter, online application, work history, prison record, and photo of you and your first girlfriend making out. Well, maybe not the girlfriend.

The point is, the employer already knows you have the stuff. Of course, he or she does want to know more details about your experience and skills, to further assess whether or not it’s a fit. But there are other reasons for the interview:

  • To make sure you’re presentable. In other words, no major hygiene issues (if they can smell you coming at the other end of the hall, you should probably keep looking. And, of course, buy some deodorant), and appropriate attire — if your boobs are hanging out, it probably won’t go over, unless you’re applying for a job at a strip club.
  • To conduct the Jeffrey Dahmer test. You know, the guy who killed people and ate them. The employer wants to make sure you’re not a raving lunatic. Not that you can always tell. But at least it’s a bit less likely if they actually get a look at you.
  • To see how well you communicate. No matter how good you look on paper, if you’re an inarticulate idiot you don’t have much of a shot, our President notwithstanding.
  • To see if you’re a good fit with their organization. You don’t have to be clones of your prospective colleagues, but if you’re Marilyn Manson applying for a job with an office full of Dick Cheneys, it probably won’t work.
  • To see if it’s a match in general. Kind of like a first date. If you try too hard to impress the other person, it makes you look either  a. desperate, or  b. arrogant, both of which are a big turn-off in either a job or a dating situation. It works much better to go at it with the mindset of figuring out if there’s chemistry, if you meet each other’s needs and desires, and if it feels good. Of course, if it feels TOO good, it may actually be a cult.
  1. Andrew Hall says:

    When I interviwed people I did a structured part and then a nonstructured part. The unstructured part was to see what kind of crazy stuff they would say in response to my, “Tell me something about yourself,” question.

  2. […] The Purpose of an Interview – Hope You’re Not a Serial Killer […]

  3. Hi Laurie,

    I just stumbled across your site and I am totally hooked… I love this post – I think it’s so important to remember the TRUE purpose of the interview. FYI, I re-posted this on my website,


    • Thanks so much Jessica! I really like your site too – the what-not-to-wear-to-an-interview post is great, and I love the Dwight-mock-interview!

  4. […] The Purpose of an Interview – Hope You’re Not a Serial Killer […]

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