In last week’s blog, I have discussed the most important thing to keep in mind when going to an interview: Remember that it is a conversation and not an interrogation! Employers want people with great communication skills, and the impression you give is at the interview.

This next tip explains the importance of where to direct your focus during an interview, and to make sure you are able to convey the message that you want the interviewer to hear.

  1. Focus on the interviewer, not yourself or the message

There are three main components in any communication. There is

                     You – The Message – The Other Person

 Focus on Yourself

You are going to be nervous in a job interview. You can plan on it. You may be especially nervous if it is a job you really want or if you have been out of work for awhile.

When you are nervous, most of your focus is on yourself. The little voice inside your head is judging you and saying all kinds of nasty things. “Can they tell I’m sweating? Am I saying ‘um’ too much? That wasn’t a good answer. This is not going well!” The more you focus on yourself, the more nervous you will become.

Focus on your Message

You definitely need to answer the interviewers questions as best as you can. When a hundred percent of your focus is on the message, the interviewer may not get it.

The most important thing about an interview is that they get what you are saying. So many people think that what they say and how they say it is crucial. It’s important, but not as important as the interviewer actually getting what you are saying.

We have all heard teachers or business experts who know their subject matter better than most, yet they have a hard time keeping the audience’s interest. They are not able to relate to the audience or may be boring.

This is because they are so wrapped up in the message that they are not able to get the message across. Just because you know something, does not mean you can communicate it to others.

Focus on the interviewer to get the job.

Focus on the interviewer to get the job.


Focus on the Interviewer

When your main focus is the interviewer and not yourself, and your concern is that they really get your message, you will be much more successful. You are not there to hear yourself talk but to share what you have with others. You are there for them.

 Focusing on the interviewer is what builds rapport and why they will remember what you say. Constantly remind yourself “It’s not about me, it’s about them!”

Think about these three components in a round pie chart and ask yourself

What percentage of my focus is on me?

What percentage is on the message?

What percentage is on the interviewer?

You should have most, at least 80%, of your focus on the interviewer and some of your focus on the message. That is the whole purpose of you speaking, to make sure the interviewer gets your message!

Most people who interview focus mostly on what they are saying, how they are saying it, and how they think they are being judged. Very seldom do they focus on making sure the interviewer gets what they are saying in this conversation.

Keep in mind that most of your attention needs to be directed to the interviewer and not yourself, you will most likely cut a lot of nervous jitteriness and can convey the message that you want them to hear.