Education Career Services

February 5, 2009

Paula’s Interview Techniques on American Idol

What can I say, I’m caught once again watching American Idol and was surprised at the interview techniques used by Paula (Simon’s was expected).  Her stance, stare, and tone were sharp, to the point, and confrontational.  In this capacity, the viewer received a front row seat of corporate interview practices.


During interview sessions, hiring managers seek individuals with an ability to stand up, take what is given to them without complaint, and accept culpability.  Paula trounced on individuals showing signs (some subtle and some loud) of weakness; apparently, the belief that if the potential Idol could not handle the four judges, they would be crushed in later rounds by a much fiercer level of expectations.


For the candidate unable to show value and contribution, the results seem to be consistent.  With this precept, the following must be part of your application/interview strategy in any setting:


  • Be yourself
  • Accept and desensitize possible obstacles
  • Have your value and contributions at hand
  • Do not beg, whine, or lose your objectivity
  • Be prepared and ready to perform immediately


The adage, “the past predicts the future,” comes into play at this point.  If a potential singer (or professional in the corporate arena) is unable to put on an impressive first (and second) impression, they most likely will be sent packing.  Simon said it best at the beginning by warning each Idol in the audience that forgetting the lyrics will bring about an automatic rejection.  Think about it, is that mindset any different when interviewing?  Obviously, it’s all about value and contribution.


Paula and Simon put their corporate face on last night for our benefit.  I’m just wondering what interviewing lessons next week has in store…


Danny Huffman


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