photo of two women discussing during an interview“You can’t tell by looking at a piece of paper what some of the strengths and weaknesses really are.”
–Kevin Kelly, hiring guru, quoted on

In almost every field, job seekers who rise to the top of their applicant pools will be interviewed.

Still, nearly all of the job seekers that I’ve coached have initially made the same mistake during the pre-interview period.

They assume that their interviewers are skilled at interviewing.

As a result, they misconstrue their role as interviewees and don’t recognize the extensive scope of interview preparation.

An Interviewee’s Role

An interviewee’s role is to comprehensively demonstrate his or her job-worthiness and leadership potential to an interviewer, irrespective of the expertise of the interviewer.

Job seekers, particularly those seeking music and arts jobs, should not assume that the people who will interview them will be competent at interviewing and will draw out of them all pertinent information.

In fact, it’s possible the people involved in interviewing candidates for arts positions possess such scant knowledge of interview practices that they are incapable of drawing out much pertinent information.

Job seekers should therefore dispel any notion that their role during interviews will solely entail providing answers to well-crafted questions.

Demonstrating Value

Interviewees should be prepared to demonstrate that they offer uncommon value to an organization, exceeding an employers’ expectations.

How can you do that? At minimum, interviewees must ensure that their interviewers will decisively conclude “yes” when wondering about the following three key concerns (via George Bradt on

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you love the job?
  3. Can we tolerate working with you?

Preparing for Interviews

With those issues in mind, here are some concise preparation tips, tied to the above three concerns. Also review guidelines on sites such as and LinkedIn as well as in my post “Ace Your Interview.”

1. Create Talking Points and Presentations in Advance, and then Practice
Prepare to give evidence that you meet a position’s qualifications, are equipped to perform the required duties, and that you’ll eagerly learn new skills.

If you’re a novice at interviewing or need to build confidence, do mock interviews with one or more mentors, and be sure to video-record.

Recommended Recorders: Audio: Zoom H4n  | Video: Zoom Q4n 

2. Emanate Enthusiasm
Be passionate about your field and the position you seek. Articulate a succinct vision, and explain how the position fits your vision and goals.

In tandem, research your prospective employer and colleagues, and plan to ask questions about their projects, demonstrating your interest in the field and their work.

3. Display Warmth and ProfessionalismThe Musician's Way book cover
Through your amiable yet polished demeanor, make it clear that you’d bring collegiality to an organization. Create rapport with your interviewers such that when the interview ends, they’ll all agree that they like and respect you.

In sum, interviewing involves skills that require practice and feedback. And because most of us seldom engage in job interviews, to excel at them, we have to prepare meticulously.

Want help preparing for interviews? Contact me for coaching via Skype.

Related posts
The 3 Roots of Performance Anxiety
Ace Your Interview

Applying for Faculty Positions

Artistic Vision

© 2012 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © ARENA Creative, licensed from