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Why it’s good to interview like a world-record sprinter

30th July 2014

On the day of the Commonwealth Games 100m final I happened to see an interview with the retired Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey.

Bailey set a new World Record in the 1996 Olympics, running the 100m in 9.84 seconds and when I saw him interviewed the other morning the sky was overcast and it was drizzling in Scotland.

The sprinter was being questioned about how the weather conditions were going to affect the competitors in the 2014 Commonwealth 100m final. Donovan was quizzed about his own racing experiences: Would he be thinking about which of the other runners didn’t like running in the rain? Would he be ticking them off in his mind, “so-and-so doesn’t like the cold so he’s out”, “lane 4 only goes fast when it’s over 32 degrees”? 

Basically they were asking whether the performance of the other contestants affected his own ability to win the race.

Bailey’s response was that a sprinter is only ever running against the clock, running against themselves – it seems obvious of course, however it is human nature to benchmark ourselves against others.

That morning I was speaking with a candidate about an upcoming final interview and he asked me how many others were “in the running”, this brought to mind the words of Donovan Bailey. In an interview it is down to you to demonstrate everything that you are and everything that you can be, share your experiences, show your capabilities and your real potential. Remember that the interviewer doesn’t really know you and they want to see what talents and attributes you can bring to their company.

Ask yourself:

  • Is it helpful to know that there is someone else on interview who has more or less experience than me?
  • Does it influence how I present myself if there are 3 other candidates being considered?
  • Can another candidate change who I am and what I have done?

The answer to these questions is clearly, “No”.

Whenever you go for an interview it is your opportunity to achieve your objective and attain the offer that you are aiming for so be sure to always run your own race and go for Gold.

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Communication is the key

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