It’s interesting that candidates most receptive to interviewing tips are usually those that have no trouble receiving job offers. Recruiters…have you heard this before?
“I really don’t need any interviewing tips. I’ve had plenty of interviews, and I know all there is to know.”
The Smart Candidate
Smart candidates are intelligent enough to realize that interviewing tips — whether old or new — will simply improve interview performance.Interviewing is a job, a sales job.I remind candidates that looking for a job is a full-time effort, and the more adept at it they become, the easier it will be.
What an interview is…and is not
When I represent a candidate scheduled for a client interview, one of the first things I say is, “There’s only one reason to go to an interview…to get an offer.Until then, you don’t even own the right to decide whether or not you want to work there.”
Essentially, an interview is a sales presentation to sell oneself. Don’t ask about how many vacation days you’re allowed.The answer is zero at that point.You haven’t gotten the job yet.
Also, most interviews for full-time positions are 85% – 90% personality.The rest is technical skills. You can train a likeable employee. However, if a candidate doesn’t fit in with the rest of the group, no amount of training will change that.
Although there are many important interviewing tips, one ranks highest on the list.It’s usually the start of any interview and also sets the precedence.
The client asks:“So, tell me a little bit about yourself.”
The candidate thinks: “Great! I can really sell myself with this question.”
The candidate proceeds to go on and on (and on) about their personal achievements and technical background.Just one problem:the hiring manager is only interested in hearing a small percentage of that.Therefore, the candidate’s job is to discover what portion of their background in which the manager is interested. The way to do that is to ASK QUESTIONS!
I advise candidates to prepare and memorize a 15 to 30-second summary of their entire background (including education, etc.).Then begin asking questions about the job and continue to ask questions. For example…
Candidate asks: “Manager, what will be my initial duties on this job?”
Manager answers: “Well, Candidate, you’ll be responsible for X, Y and Z.”
Candidate responds: “That’s great, Mr. Manager!Because when I worked at ABC Company, I was responsible for X, Y and Z (and cite the example).”
Candidate is relaying information that applies to this company’s environment.Useful information in which the manager will be interested and help him determine whether or not this candidate is technically competent (without having to ask).
I tell candidates to continue asking job-related questions and plugging in their background with related job experience. Of course, it’s also important to respond in a positive manner, whether they have experience with a particular technology or not.For example…“That’s interesting, Mr. Manager.How does your company utilize (insert specific piece of technology)?”
There are numerous questions to consider when preparing for an interview …
- 5 and 10-Year Goals
- Strengths and Weaknesses
- Why Should I Hire You?
- Why Do You Want to Work Here
- Salary Expectations
But I make it a point to rehearse the “So, tell me about yourself?” question first.It’s amazing how many candidates admit that they never know how to respond to that one.