Trying not to be you
Most interview candidates think that the interview panel have a certain type of person they are looking for. So the applicant goes into the interview trying to work out a) what the interviewers want and b) how to best give the impression that this is you!
This mindset puts you in an awkward position and sets you up to fail.
If you’ve done your homework you should have a good idea what the organisation needs. But instead of having to fit exactly to that by being a different version of yourself, you need to work out how the person you actually are, fits to that.
For instance, the FRS might particularly value people who can relate well to people who are different from yourself. One candidate might express this through an empathetic and kind approach; another through their use of informality and humour; another through their experience in an Equal Opps role or from personal experience. None one of these is wrong, but just shows there are a range of ways of meeting what the FRS needs, without compromising who you are.
Assuming they are confident interviewers
Interviewing is rarely something your interviewers do every day.
Some might be from the HR team so have more familiarity with what’s required. Others may be firefighters who have done a training course in the techniques used by the FRS, and this is their first time. It’s easy to assume the dynamic will be of ‘expert’ and ‘novice’ but it can be helpful to approach the interview remembering that both of you want the same thing. You want to show the interviewers what you are capable of and how much potential you have. They want to see the same thing.
There will be more apprehension from the interviewers than you would expect. They want to do the interview well as the organisation is relying on them to get it right. So the pressure isn’t just on you!
Worrying about being judged
When we accept the offer of an interview we get worked up at the prospect of being judged.
And if you are 100% sure that this job is the one for you, then that feeling is very real. But how many interviews have we attended when we’re not too sure about the job? Don’t we feel nervous then too?! You could attend an interview for a job as a sales-person, a data inputter, a finance officer, a TV presenter.. and even though you are the same person and your performance very similar in each, you would do badly in some, great in others. That’s because you’ll be more suited to some of these roles than others, and interviews are designed to work out if you would be a good fit for the job.
It can be difficult to think this applies to you if your heart is set on the role you are interviewing for. But we’ve all missed out on things where we were gutted about at the time…. and later realise we’d dodged a bullet. So try not to be apprehensive at the thought of being evaluated. They are not judging who you are as a person, just if you might be a good fit for the role. And if your answers give the impression you might not be, this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.