Interview Tips from Presidential Candidates

interview tips from presidential candidates

Presidential candidates are under a lot of pressure to perfect their performances, much like anyone who is in an interview.

Last month, Donald Trump sat down for a mock interview on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “I mean, you’re running for the biggest job in the world, really the most important job,” says Fallon before launching into the mock interview and asking Trump the generic interview questions that we all have heard time and time again.

It’s true that each presidential candidate is essentially interviewing for a very important job, and their constituency are acting as the hiring managers. We want to know that they will act cool under pressure and have the right experience to guide them to making the right decisions. This is the same thing that all hiring managers look for when trying to find the perfect candidate for a position. All of the presidential candidates have mastered the art of presenting their best sides. Here are four things we can learn from them.

Create a Solid Back Story

One of the first questions often asked in an interview is “Tell me about yourself.” You’ll notice that every presidential candidate has a strong and polished backstory that ties into why they should be president. Marco Rubio talks about his immigrant parents to show that he is sympathetic to the American immigrant experience. Hillary Clinton highlights her years in politics to show how she has the advantage of experience while also emphasizing her middle-class upbringing to show that she understands the needs of middle-class Americans. When a hiring manager asks you to talk about yourself, you should have an answer that highlights your strengths in relation to the job but that also doesn’t sound canned. Practice your backstory until it sounds polished and professional.

Know Your Audience

You don’t want to make the mistake of having only one resume for every job to which you apply. Not being fully prepared to handle many different scenarios and questions can leave you like Marco Rubio, repeating the same talking point over and over without presenting any real useful information about yourself. Do your research; prepare a specialized resume for each job to which you apply. Have stories prepared to answer common interview questions; not only does this keep your answer from sounding boring and pre-planned, but it also helps you to come off as more personable.

Develop Your Brand

Bernie Sanders has used his speeches, television appearances, and website to develop a strong image of being a candidate who stands for civil liberties and responsible spending. He didn’t create this image overnight. Each and every candidate put a lot of hard work into creating a brand for themselves. A strong job candidate doesn’t worry about what their employer can do for them, but rather what they can do for their employer. You may not have the same resources that a presidential candidate has, but you can certainly ask your peers and mentors for feedback on how they perceive your professional strengths. And don’t forget to polish your online sites! Employers will often check your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get a more genuine idea of how you act when not under the stress of an interview. Take a moment to pay special attention to these pages; you don’t want to end up like Jeb Bush with your website redirecting to Donald Trump’s website!


It’s true that none of the presidential candidates would be where they are today without networking. You should be constantly making strong contacts to either back you up when you need a good reference or to give you first dibs when a great job opening comes along. Getting a great job, whether it’s president of the United States or head marketer at your dream firm, requires constant and thorough work and dedication.


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