Interviews are tricky things to negotiate sometimes. They’re quite unnatural exercises, with both parties on close to their best behaviour, and probably not the behaviour or personality they’re going to display when the person has started with the company.

When you boil it down though, there are three things common to an open interview and two of them you can control directly. The other you can’t. Here they are.

1) Can this person do the job? You need to have examples of how you can do the job and be able to demonstrate how what you’ve done in previous jobs will equip you well to do this one.

2) Does this person want the job? Are you genuinely motivated to secure this opportunity, or it is really interview practice for you, you’re shopping around, you’re benchmarking yourself with a view to applying leverage in your current role, it’s your second choice if your first choice doesn’t come off, and so on? You need to demonstrate you’ve done your homework on the company and are genuinely interested in where it’s going.

3) Will this person fit in to our company? This is the most important question, and one you can’t do anything about, unless you’re lying to the company and by extension to yourself. The cultural fit has to be right, or else you won’t enjoy working there, and since you’re going to be doing it 5 days out of every 7, give or take the odd holiday, what’s the point of working somewhere if you don’t enjoy it? If you know people or are connected to people in the company, ask them what it’s like working there. If you don’t know anyone, ask your interviewer what the culture is like. If they waffle, or they give you an answer that you feel is disingenuous, that’s not a good sign.

When you join a new company, that company has all the power for the first 12 months of your stay there. So remember that you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. You may really need that job, but to stay in it, make sure you score 3 out of 3 on these interview rules.

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