What can BGT teach us about job interviews?

The final of Britain’s biggest talent show is coming up so we thought it might be worth having a look at what we can learn from the hopefuls that appear on the show – after all, it is effectively an interview process, albeit one with a rather large audience…

Don’t underestimate the competition. 

I wonder how many of the finalists in 2012 thought they would be beaten by a dancing dog?  Well, that’s what happened.  Even if you have all the goods to impress your prospective employer, remember that the competition may be just as good as you on paper, and even more charming in person.  If you really want the job, it is worth going the extra mile in your preparation for the interview.

You don’t have to win over the entire panel.

Remember all those acts that couldn’t win over Simon Cowell, but still went through to the next round of the competition?  If you’re in a panel style interview and it seems like you’re struggling to find a connection with one of the interviewers, all is not lost.  Don’t panic and give up.  If you’ve genuinely done a good job and made a good connection with someone else on the panel, they’ll fight your corner.

Make sure you are memorable for the right reasons.

In the run-up to Britain’s Got Talent, ITV2 shows weeks and weeks of programmes containing highlights and lowlights from previous years’ shows.  Some of the most terrible auditions are just as memorable as the show’s high points – a man in a Darth Vader suit that can’t dance is somehow just as memorable as Susan Boyle’s famous audition.  Pay attention to the basics – like your appearance, and swotting up on the company.  Although the interviewer probably won’t forget that guy that turned up looking like he’d slept in his clothes and whose first words were ‘so… what does your company do?’, it won’t be because he’s planning to invite him back!

A smile and a good attitude will go a long way.

Every year there will be acts that are just okay that get through on little more than a sunny personality, and consequently a bit of support from the audience.  But for every happy, good natured soul that scrapes through, there will be just as many sullen, unpleasant contestants that the judges decide to send home in spite of their talent.

We’ve experienced the same thing countless times in recruitment – our clients choosing someone that was warm and friendly to take forward to the next interview over someone that was more qualified but didn’t make eye contact or smile in the interview.  And why wouldn’t they?  It’s much easier for a warm, friendly person to brush up on their technical skills than for someone unpleasant to change their personality.  It is ok to be nervous, but make sure you present yourself as someone they would actually want to have on their team.

Remember that getting the job is only the beginning.

It’s well known that not everyone that wins a talent show has an easy road ahead of them – showbiz is tough, and not everyone that wins is willing to put in the effort required to maintain a career in the spotlight.  And just as some contestants are great at auditions, lots of candidates for jobs are simply ‘good at interviews’. This might be where it ends though, and this is where we find candidates that struggle to stay in a role for very long, because they can talk a good interview but lack the skills or the drive to actually do the job well.  The danger of falling into this category is that eventually the job-hopping on your CV will become off-putting to future employers, and you won’t even get the chance to dazzle them at interview.