The interviewer’s hidden agenda. What do they really want to know?

The interviewer’s hidden agenda

During a bout of winter illness and consequently, mild delirium, last weekend I found myself watching ‘The X Factor’.  As the live shows have failed to grab my attention this year, I have not really been paying attention.  On closer inspection, though, perhaps I have been missing out.  And that brings me to Honey G.

To summarise: Honey G is the most talked-about contestant in X Factor history.  She makes bold claims to be ‘the realist contestant ever’.  She wears sunglasses indoors.  She raps.  It’s bad.  So very, very bad.  And that’s all you need to know.

On Saturday, Honey G found herself in the elimination sing-off with another contestant, a pleasant Scottish lad with a guitar.  He performed quite well, and then it was the turn of Honey G.  Now, in the sing-off, the contestant is on their own.  Any dancers, fireworks, backing vocals and bells and whistles that made their performance seem engaging on the Saturday night are not permitted; it is just the contestant and their voice.

It was bad.  So very, very bad.

Yet somehow Honey G was spared by the judges.  They had one final shot to restore a smidgen of credibility to their struggling format… but instead of taking it, they decided to send the little Scottish fellow home.  I felt for him.  So, Honey G survives to dust off another gold tracksuit and memorise another popular rap classic next week.  Viewers of the X Factor took to Twitter to voice their suspicion that The X Factor is ‘fixed’, as if the judges had some sort of hidden agenda by ensuring that Honey G survived another week, not least because it does seem like the unlikely rapper has had a shaky journey.  One might even suspect that the judges are quite keen to see her in the final, or maybe even win.  And why not?  The controversy is keeping the show alive.  The format is tired, the contestants are lacklustre… if there was ever a time for a middle-aged recruitment consultant to make it as a Gangster rap star, this was it.  Do I wish I’d thought of it first?  Well, perhaps.

What might the judges’ hidden agenda be, I wondered?

  • To avoid a drop-off in ratings by keeping the controversial contestant in the competition;
  • To ensure the show stays in the headlines;
  • To show that they are all-powerful and can make anyone a star.

Job interviews

It occurred to me that, when it comes to job interviews, there is often a hidden agenda at work too.  The interviewer might have a very fixed idea of what they are looking for, which can have a direct impact on the success or failure of the candidate in front of them.

Here are some possible hidden agendas:

  • They don’t want to spend any money on recruitment, so they’re under pressure to offer the position to someone internally, even if they are not right for it;
  • The interviewer is knowingly or unknowingly looking for a clone of themselves;
  • The interviewer knows something that you don’t about the role – and this impacts directly on the kind of individual they are looking for.

As a candidate, these things are out of your hands – it’s infuriating, but it happens.  Nonetheless, we have seen over the years that it is still possible to defy the odds.  It’s all in your preparation and how you present yourself.  For every interview, you should go the extra mile to ensure you are thorough in the following:

  • Your research of the business & the individual you are meeting;
  • Your understanding of what the job entails;
  • The questions you ask in the interview;
  • Your energy and enthusiasm;
  • How you present yourself – smart and professional from start to finish.

It’s worth remembering that the individual they think they are looking for might be sitting in reception, but if they have not made the effort that you have, then it is quite possible that YOU will win over the interviewer, no matter what their hidden agenda is.  We’ve seen this happen time and time again.

The bottom line is, if you have been invited for an interview, then there must be a reason for that – if the outcome was set in stone, they would not waste their time and yours on the interview process.

The rest is up to you.

Talent (and effort) usually prevail.  Not always, but often.

As for Honey G, we’re predicting a narrow defeat in the final, a Christmas Number one, a spell on Celebrity Big Brother, and finally a swift return to the unglamorous world of recruitment consultancy…