Courtney Reynolds

The Job Interview

CNBC’s new program “The Job Interview” is the talk of the talent acquisition community as it aims the camera into an HR professional’s daily lives, making it reality TV fodder. The show allows the general public (those who watch) to analyze candidate interviews. My major takeaways from this as a staffing manager and insider tricks to avoid looking bad in an interview follow.

Understand the Position

One candidate said that she was not a people person, however she was applying for a public-facing position. Another candidate, when applying to a CPA firm, said she left a job because she didn’t want to work as a public accountant. Not knowing the job or saying something that contradicts your consideration for the position shows just how unprepared you are. The hiring manager will most likely get the impression you aren’t taking their position seriously and thus disqualify you are a result.

Staffing Manager Tips:

  • Do your research! It might be the number one recommendation of every interviewing advice blog/column, but it can’t be said enough. Look up the company’s website, LinkedIn, and Google information. This will show you were prepared and will likely impress the hiring manager.
  • Make sure you understand the job. Review the job description, be sure you understand all of the job duties and if you do not understand something, ask the hiring manager in the interview.

If you’re looking to further your preparation for an interview, check out this blog.

Sell Yourself

An interview is as much about selling yourself as it is answering the questions correctly. In one situation, a candidate could not articulate their past experience. This obviously makes it challenging for a hiring manager to uncover if you’re a match for the role.

Staffing Manager Tips:

  • Have specific information from your resume ready for anticipated questions.
  • You may not need them, but bring a couple of copies of your resume. This shows your preparation and can also be used as a cheat sheet when talking about your successes. No matter if it is a project or day-to-day duties, be specific with what you have accomplished and give small details that could have relevance to the job, the team you would be working with, or the organization as a whole.

Want to end your interview with a bang? Check out this blog.

Slay Tests, or At Least Appear Confident

When given a test on the program, candidate stated it was “the hardest test they have ever have to take in an interview,” but according to the hiring managers, it was “simple math.” This shows a lack of confidence in the skills and abilities necessary to perform the job.

Staffing Manager Tips:

  • Project confidence, no matter the level of difficulty and do not let on that you are struggling if you are. If the HM feels that the test is easy and you voice that it is difficult, you could be disqualified from further conversations.
  • Do not feel that you have to rush to come up with an answer. If you are being timed, ensure you understand how much time you have and take the appropriate time you need to complete the evaluation.


We know communication is key in interviews, right? Well some of the candidates in “The Job Interview” forgot about this incredibly important aspect of interviewing. One candidate spoke with their head down, showing a lack of confidence and making it tough for the hiring manager to understand responses.

Staffing Manager Tips:

  • Make eye contact with the hiring manager
  • Hold you head up and shoulders back (this exudes confidence)
  • If you do not understand the question, simply ask for clarification from the hiring manager


Interviewing can be tough. When you’re job seeking the difference between hired and not is more often than not the interview. If you’re working with a HR and payroll recruiter, it’s part of our job to make you feel confident in your interview preparation and skills. We can also work with companies to give a candidate who bombed their interview a second chance.

If you’ve watched “The Job Interview,” I’d love to hear more about what you think! It can be quite fun to analyze interview from the comfort of your own couch.


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