|Do You Have That Spark in
Itzhak Perlman was recently interviewed by Charlie Rose,
who asked Perlman what he looks for when selecting those
few special Juilliard School students he wishes to work
with. Years before, he himself was a student at
Juilliard. “Is it skills or talent?” Rose asked.
Perlman’s answer was that talent is not easily defined
and that certainly most of Juilliard’s students are very
talented to begin with. But Perlman is looking for that
spark in their eyes and a special facial expression. So
it seems that the differentiator when it comes to
selecting students is something beyond skills and
That point is also evident in terms of a job interview.
Of course interviewers’ questions can be technical ones
requiring skill-based answers or they may be behavioral
based and looking for attitude, demeanor, and the like.
But interpretation of answers is also heavily
psychologically based—meaning, based on what the
interviewer sees: Does the candidate have that spark in
the eyes when talking about great professional
accomplishments? Is there congruity between the spoken
words and the body language?
A job interview is a stressful test. I don’t think
anyone would deny that. The candidate going through this
stressful event has to not only focus on the spoken
words but also make sure to literally act out the role
as interviewee. And there’s more to being an actor than
just having acting skills. One has to have the talent
and the ability to control and demonstrate genuine
enthusiasm. Like an actor’s role, the interviewee’s role
can be learned too with the proper guidance. I practice
this every day.