“Real Artists Ship”

Colin Johnson’s blog

Evidence vs. Assertion

One piece of advice that is commonly given to candidates in job interviews and similar situations is to evidence what they say. If asked “Why should I believe that you are capable of doing X?” the suggested response is to find an example of where they did X in the past, or something that is similar to X is some way, and build an argument around that. This seems very sensible to me, it prevents waffle and generic assertive statements.

Watching The Apprentice recently, though, makes me wonder about this. Often this kind of evidence-based response is dismissed by Lord Sugar using phrases along the lines of “don’t tell us your bloody life story”. It seems like he is expecting a generic, assertive statement and that providing evidence from what the candidate has done before is looking backwards rather than looking forwards.

What should a candidate do if they encounter such an attitude in a real interview? I can’t decide whether it is best just to redound to the generic statements that seem to be being demanded here, or whether to try to turn it around by being very explicit about how the evidence relates to the question being asked.

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