Interview Like A Good Chess Player

I don’t know about you, but I love a good chess game. No matter how many times I play, it never gets old and I learn something new every time — both about the strategy and myself! For example, sometimes I move too quickly and do not notice that my piece is in danger because I am too eager to make my next great move. This is why I advise my clients to go on a few “practice” job interviews so they can learn what to expect, anticipate certain questions, and confidently articulate their responses.

Job interviewing is far from a game, but it does require a good strategy. By studying the game of chess, understanding what each piece is capable of doing, and knowing a few cool moves – such as castling and En passant – it is easy to start the game off with a plan, to anticipate what the opponent might do, and to get out of a jam when cornered. Even when it looks like curtains, there is often a glimmer of hope if a player can turn a pawn into a queen to better protect the king — and maybe even checkmate their opponent.

Similarly, a good interview takes careful planning. Just as chess requires a player to have certain skills when playing a formidable opponent, an employer expects a potential candidate to have the right skills and qualifications. In addition to knowing their own strengths, a job seeker needs to know their weaknesses, as well, so they can target jobs that match their career level and skill set. Failure in doing so can make the difference between blowing or acing a job interview — assuming they are lucky enough to land the interview in the first place with a good resume or networking skills (but that’s for another article!).

A seasoned professional understands the marketplace, the competition, and their abilities. If they are in a leadership role, they need to know the strengths and weaknesses of their staff and how to maximize a team’s work performance by appropriately delegating assignments according to individual skills and capabilities. Like a good chess player, they should have the guts to take risks even if it means sacrificing the queen to execute a surefire plan.

When it comes to interviewing, it is imperative that a job seeker knows the game (company, industry, job), that they have a plan (researching the company, understand the position, and knowing why they are a good fit for the position. That way they can plan their own set of questions). If their opponent is equally skilled (grueling interview process), the game will be much more intense and the victory even sweeter!

Before you start interviewing, do your research so you can develop your own interview strategy.

About The Author:

Ann Baehr is a CPRW and President of Best Resumes of New York. Notable credentials include her former role as Second Vice President of NRWA and contribution to 25+ resume and cover letter sample books. To learn more visit