The short answer: both, and it depends.
Check out this post on Recruiting Blogs by Katie, titled Personality vs. Qualified. She talks about a challenge that regularly comes up. No matter how fair anything should be, there are always nuances, and biases, and circumstances… so there is not one “right answer.”
Here’s Katie’s advice, which should help you interview better:
“Show interest and spunk in an interview and make sure you have done your research on the position you are interviewing for and what the job duties will entail. It really isn’t a “tough world out there”, if you just put some time and effort into your interview process. Show your passion. And if you don’t end up getting hired at that certain company– I’m sure in the long run it really was not a good fit anyway.”
Let’s break this advice down:
- Show interest and spunk in an interview: You don’t have to fake this. If you are really interested, it should show without any special effort.
- Make sure you have done your research on the position you are interviewing for and what the job duties will entail: If you ask a question that I, as the interviewer, thinks you should already know the answer to, I’ll think you are too lazy to simple web research, or you are not as interested as the 5 others who asked better questions.
- ….if you just put some time and effort into your interview process: Does your interviewer feel like you haven’t put any time into your interview? Or do they feel like you are well-prepared? Who do you think they are going to hire? The one who cares about the position enough to put time into it, or the one who is just throwing mud up on the walls to see what sticks??
- Show your passion: Two parts to this… first, like in bullet one, be interested! Second, know the right questions to ask to show you are passionate. If you are passionate, let it show… don’t keep it quiet.
- … if you don’t end up getting hired at that certain company– I’m sure in the long run it really was not a good fit anyway: If you let getting passed over affect your attitude, it will affect your entire job search. What you want and need is coming, even if it looks different than what you thought it would be.
Katie has great interviewing advice – take time to digest this and become a better interviewee!