The top five interview tips you can learn from the movies

Posted on 10/09/2011 by Emma Dadswell


With a track record of recruiting for some of the biggest film studios in the world, we love a good movie – and we also believe that all great films have something to teach us. So we started thinking about our favourite movie interview moments – and what our candidates can learn from them. In no particular order, here are our top five. Enjoy!

  • Be passionate – Office Space 

When a hypnotised Peter Gibbons stops caring about his job, it’s catastrophic timing for an internal interview- especially when his new-found lack of concern causes him to be a little bit too honest. To watch the scene, click here. Although airing his grievances about his lack of enthusiasm for the job worked for Peter Gibbons, I doubt this would yield positive results in real life. While in Office Space, this little rant earned Peter a promotion, real-life bosses expect you to have a genuine passion for what you do – and to show it, whether you’re up for a promotion or just starting out.

  • Know your stuff – Bridget Jones 

We all remember the classic Bridget Jones sequence where we saw our heroine go through a series of job interviews. However, things went awry when it became apparent that, despite her abundance of enthusiasm, Bridget had no idea what she was talking about.Here at Handle Recruitment, we have first-hand experience of candidates who are sure they want to work in entertainment. But, like Bridget, sometimes they’re willing to apply for any role regardless of whether they’re really suited to it. If you don’t know your stuff, quick research isn’t sufficient and your lack of knowledge will be found out.

  • Don’t talk money – The Wedding Singer 

When interviewing with a bank, Adam Sandler’s character, Robbie Hart, is asked if he has experience with money:
"No, sir, I have no experience but I'm a big fan of money. I like it, I use it, and I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I'd like to put more in that jar. That's where you come in."Adam Sandler provides the perfect guide for how NOT to negotiate on salary. Never talk money at a first interview. Even in movie land, our Wedding Singer didn’t get the job.

  • Listen to warning signs – The Shining 

Remember the interview scene from The Shining? For a reminder, click here. While obviously you wouldn’t expect to hear that the last person who had your role killed their family with an axe, there can be warning signs to be found in an interview if you’re open to hearing them. Sometimes, when an opportunity seems perfect, we ignore our instinct and take the role. However, if something seems wrong to you, it’s worth at least investigating why you’re not comfortable.

  • Friends – Be subtle 

OK, so this is technically from TV, but it still has valuable lessons to provide to jobseekers. When Rachel Green applies for a new role at Gucci, she obviously wants to keep it quiet from her existing employer, Ralph Lauren. However, her plan is foiled when her interview is conducted in a restaurant – with her current boss at the next table.To see Rachel’s disastrous interview, click here.If your employers don’t know you’re looking elsewhere, make sure you’re subtle about other interviews. If paths cross, you could end up not only damaging your prospects at your current job but also alienating a prospective employer.

Can you think of any more interview lessons that can be learned from films? Leave us a comment and let us know!