Play within a Play
At what point does a job applicant become too smooth?
We say we want articulate responses, but there are times when the answers sound rehearsed. We sense we are watching a performance instead of a person.
Employers can blame themselves for the rising number of slick applicants. The market has caught on that being genuine can be dangerous. The applicant who responds to "Why do you want this job?" with "So I can pay my rent" may be given high marks for candor and low ones for judgment.
For their part, the interviewers are often restricted from asking questions that might give a glimpse of the real person.
As a result, the job interview turns into a drama in which the players improvise while fulfilling certain roles and the drama itself is a casting session. It is a play within a play.
The applicant's strategy: If I want this job, I will say the things (within limits) that I think will make you want to give it to me.
The interviewer's strategy: I will try to determine if, underneath all of the answers that are given to make us want to hire you and which we may truly want to hear, you can be trusted, will not embarrass us, and will fit in.