What poor interview performance and throwing up in public have in common – and how to avoid them

We rarely like to admit it but we have all at some point pushed the envelope a little too much, either with our indulgence of alcohol or landing an interview we did not feel happy with our performance in. With the Christmas season being a time of reflection on career management and, quite frankly, a licence to binge drink, are there ways we can avoid both?

Falling short at an interview is horrible – it is like getting caught out in the rain, only worse because you had the intention to weather a storm you knew would come much more effectively than you did. Having told people about said storm/interview, everyone is then keen to know how you performed – meaning you then have to explain how you in fact ended up being all at sea.

Likewise having a little too much to drink and being incomprehensible and, in worse case scenarios, sick in public. We have all done our (sometimes more than) fair share of this but hopefully in most cases, as with failing in an interview situation, this has decreased with age.

But every now and again it occurs, more often when we least expect it – so how can this be avoided? Here is my advice to avoid looking like a fool, whether it be during that next round of promotions or at the next big night out.

1) Fail to prepare…

… and you better prepare to fail! When you come to going out make sure you have had plenty to eat to soak up all that Dubonnet you are about to drop kick your liver with. Yes I said Dubonnet, what of it?!

Think of preparing for interviews as the time to stock up on ‘brainfood’ – you want to show you are not only enthusiastic about the role but the organisation as well, you are aware of what its long-term goals and aims are, and how the position fits in to supporting this.

So be prepared – it works better in both examples than slurring/stumbling through a conversation.

2) Know your limits

“Where do you see your career in five years time?” “Five yearssh? Look at ma face – Im nat looooking beyond the nextch five minutesch.”

There will be times when you have ambition beyond your abilities. You see everyone else going for the triple Jaeger bombs and this seems to be the way forward. Then on the night bus home your ambition blows up in your face. Literally.

Likewise it is great to have ambition to make it up the next step on the ‘ladder’ but if you keep finding yourself out of your depth there is a message to be understood. It can only be an effective learning exercise if you either improve your performance during interviews or realise what you need to work on elements of your current role which are not giving you enough exposure to warrant a more senior role. One way or the other a change needs to occur – like Jacko said, start with the man in the mirror!

3) Consider this – perhaps you are happier not drinking?

I try this every January and although I feel the benefits in terms of health, I soon find myself making up for lost time in February come 6 Nations time. Nevertheless it is a great was to let the body recover after the heavy Christmas season.

However, what if you actually just drink because you feel obliged to but in fact get no enjoyment from it – either in terms of the social interaction that occurs through it or the actual flavour of your regular beverage? In the same vein, if you are going to interviews but not attempting some of the other steps mentioned previously (researching the organisation, applying the feedback from previous instances, applying for roles that have no relation to your expertise) perhaps you might want to consider evaluating what it is you want from the next role. Your current role might be more of what you enjoy than you realise and then you suddenly find yourself in a great situation – you are happy to be a part of and with no hangover/hang ups to worry about in the future.

Either way in order to effectively plan the next steps, whether it be that application form you have been ignoring or beer after the wine, consider the steps mentioned here. And avoid triple Jaeger bombs or Dubonnet chasers – it is never a good idea, even when you think it might be.


2 thoughts on “What poor interview performance and throwing up in public have in common – and how to avoid them

  1. I like a bit of festive cheer myself and as someone who is currently on the job market some enjoyable analogies for interviewing.

    What I’ve found interesting is how many different styles of interview people seem to use and how many people turn it into a either a) a test or b) a battle of wills; not setting an environment where the candidate feels at ease to be the best version of themselves but more an environment which tries to trip the candidate up – the boozing analogy? Maybe the barman spiking your drinks?!

    1. I agree – have been on panels when the battle of wills issue has occurred, when that happens no one wins.

      Spiking of drinks – might have to keep that handy for later on tonight ; )

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