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Interview Notes to Take From Presidential Candidates

By: Michelle Metzger, Staffing Assistant

While most of us may never pursue a job quite as weighty as President of the United States, we can still take some valuable interviewing tips from the candidates.  An election campaign is one big job interview.


Whether you support the current presidential candidates or not, you can recognize and adapt some of their interviewing qualities.  Like them or not, you can’t deny that President Obama and former Governor Romney portray confidence in their abilities and ideas to lead the country.  Similarly you should portray your confidence in yourself as the best candidate for the position you are pursuing.  Would you be comfortable hiring (or electing) someone who didn’t seem confident in themselves?  Know what you have to bring to the table and be able to convey that to a prospective hiring manager.

Confidence in yourself can serve you in ways other than just saying, “I think I am the best candidate for the position.”  It can help you overcome missteps, moments lacking grace, and verbal blunders.  As you are human, mistakes will happen.  You need to be able to recover from a mistake and not let it bomb the entire experience a prospective employer has with you.  Will you walk in with your fly unzipped, give a less than stellar answer, accidentally swear when you spill your coffee, mistake the CEO for the receptionist, or tell a joke that doesn’t go over well with your interviewer?  Who knows; these things can happen, its how you recover and move on that matters.  Every presidential candidate has inserted foot in mouth a few times, but they usually don’t let a mistake take over the campaign.


Whether you are regaining composure after a blunder or not, you need to be sure to convey what it is that sets you apart from the competition.  It’s not enough to have presidential confidence if you don’t have something to back it up.  Much like a presidential candidate will discuss his/her policy and voting history, you need to be able to discuss your past accomplishments and other ways your tenure has benefited past employers.  Before you interview, you should review your work history, list your accomplishments, and note ways you’ve utilized your knowledge, skills, and abilities to achieve success on the job.


With today’s technology, a presidential candidate’s actions and words are available for public and media scrutiny.  To a lesser extent, the same can be said for a job candidate.  If you think those past posts complaining about your old boss or unbecoming photos on your Facebook wall do not matter, think again.  You can never be sure which recruiters and hiring managers conduct social media searches of potential applicants. Use the privacy settings on your various accounts. You may not have a professional speech writer or campaign manager to assist you, but the use of sound judgment can be enough.

Take Notes

There are several tips you can take away from presidential candidates for your next interview.  Take notes on their confidence in what they bring to the table, their preparedness to discuss their qualifications, and their recovery from missteps.  Other things of note: they are always impeccably dressed for the occasion and they are able to transition from personable to serious at the proper time.  A note of caution: do not adopt every practice of these individuals; it is inappropriate to employ mudslinging tactics- be it regarding former bosses, coworkers, employees etc., or the other candidates for the job.

(originally published September of 2012)