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How would you perform in a secret interview?

Posted on 4/01/2013 by Emma Dadswell

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Last week Chanel 5 aired a documentary titled Secret Interview, where two would be fashion stylists competed for a highly coveted job at Glamour magazine without even knowing it.

The concept is an interesting one, while the women believed they were being filmed for a documentary on fashion retail, they were actually vying for a once in a lifetime opportunity to work at the UK’s biggest selling fashion magazine. But unlike a traditional interview scenario, Editor Jo Elvin was able to see past the candidates’ game faces and glimpse the real people behind the façades as they faced high pressure situations.

This experiment allowed the employer to experience a side you wouldn’t ordinarily see during a first meeting. The world’s best brands have the pick of the best candidates, but the ability to ‘just get on with it’ is a trait that is difficult to demonstrate in a highly controlled traditional interview situation. It is not often that potential employees have the opportunity to showcase the bare bones of their character when you take into account interview research, preparation, and nerves.

Within entertainment, media, high-end retail and events – you can’t afford to flap. Success in these fields requires not only hard work and determination, but also the ability to demonstrate resilience when the heat is on. The secret interview allowed Glamour’s Editor to gauge skills such as diplomacy, leadership and strength of character – traits which are impossible to fake on the job.

It is not realistic for employers to interview candidates on the sly, but hypothetically speaking decision makers could learn a lot about potential recruits by watching them in action. Jobseekers should bear this in mind when they are executing their day to day professional duties. Although you may not have cameras watching you at work – there are people taking note of your behaviour. From line managers to colleagues, customers and clients - maintaining a professional attitude in the workplace could open the doors to opportunities you never thought existed.

How would you fare in a secret interview?