Worrying about knowing the selection panel?

Many an applicant can worry about knowing members of the selection panel. It is uncomfortable facing your boss across the interview table.

What do applicant’s worry about?

  • that their boss knows what they do anyway.
  • that their boss won’t agree with the applicant’s version of events.
  • that the applicant will talk too much or too little.
  • that it shouldn’t be necessary to give much detail as it is already known.
  • that they’ll be perceived as bragging, taking too much credit, or as not giving enough recognition to others.

These worries are understandable. And they are valid, but only up to a certain point. They are also unhelpful to the applicant, who must present their case fully, regardless of whether they know the panel.

To manage these worries consider these points:

  • if you don’t make your case at interview, no one else will do it for you.
  • you know your job better than anyone else.
  • your boss may not know your work in detail.
  • your boss may not know as much as he/she makes out.
  • your boss will look at your work from a different perspective to you. They will be thinking in terms of what’s important to them: meeting deadlines and targets, keeping their boss happy, fulfilling their performance requirements. This perspective will lead them to notice certain details and not others. They will evaluate behaviour based on different criteria. What you need to do is present your case based on how it looks to you, how you used your skills and knowledge, how you interpreted the situation, how it fitted with what you understand your role to be.
  • the panel wants you to put your case well.

When you take all these points into account, it becomes clear that investing a lot of energy worrying about panel members you know is not serving you well. Restock your ‘mental pantry’ with more helpful beliefs, such as:

  • I know my work in more detail than the panel.
  • I have a wealth of skills and knowledge that makes me a strong candidate for this job.
  • I am prepared and will put my case convincingly.
  • The panel wants to hear my case.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.