HR AGENT BLOG
Thoughts and strategies related to HR Consulting, HR Outsourcing, HR Compliance, HR Oversight, HR Administration, HR Daily Tasks, Talent Acquisition, and Talent Retention...
Interviewing can sometimes feel like a scripted and dry experience for both the manager conducting the interview as well as the potential employee. How many times have we heard these questions -
· What would you say is your greatest weakness?
· Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
· What are your long-term career objectives?
Often times, managers rely on simple and traditional questions to help them determine who they will hire. This approach to the hiring process can feel static and uninspiring. No matter the questions being asked, it is imperative that the potential employee take hold of the opportunity in front of them. Don't just sit there reciting canned answers - interview the interviewer! I've conducted hundreds of interviews. Here are the things I've found most effective...
Approach Each Interview As A Simple Conversation. As a potential employee interviewing for a role, you might find yourself sitting across from an interviewer who is clinical in his/her approach. The questions may be the same ones you've heard at previous interviews. What's more, the interviewer may appear intimidating, leaving you with the urge to withdraw and quietly stammer out your answers. Resist this urge! Take control of your nervousness, don't fidget and realize one very important fact - YOU WERE INVITED TO THIS INTERVIEW, so show 'em what you've got! Find a way to engage the interviewer. An easy way to do this is to offer an icebreaker at the beginning of the conversation (notice I said "conversation" not interview); compliment the interviewer on their office space or a particular piece of artwork. Do whatever it takes to 'warm up' the conversation.
Be Open, Be Honest, Be Yourself. Everyone interviews with specific goals in mind. For instance, the manager will want to extract certain elements of the potential employee's personality, work place tendencies and skills from the discussion. While potential employees will want (or should want) to ensure they have given an accurate representation of who they are; reiterating the depth of their professional abilities and knowledge on a particular subject matter. Despite separate agendas, as the potential employee, you will need to be open and honest; but most importantly you should be yourself. Let the interviewer get to know a little about you. Doing so will help ensure you establish a connection with the interviewer. When managers and potential employees connect, they forge a bond and that makes the experience memorable for both parties. Remember, the person sitting across from you may become your new boss or coworker.
Pay Attention And Establish A Connection. Pay attention to the interviewer's demeanor and body language, notice what he/she isn't saying, and ask pertinent questions. If you are lucky enough to interview in the interviewer's office (versus a conference room), notice the pictures of them participating in hobbies (skiing, bowling, dancing) and comment on things (at the appropriate time) that you may share in common or have a particular interest in. Most people enjoy sharing a little about themselves with interested parties. Again, this is a way to help you connect with the interviewer. If an interviewer can't remember you, they aren't likely to hire you, no matter how qualified you are. Keep in mind, you are joining a corporate family. Strong skills are as important as a fitting personality!
Interview The interviewer. As a potential employee you are being interviewed and it is a serious matter. But keep in mind, you are also conducting your own interview. You don't want a job that isn't a good fit for you any more than the employer wants to hire someone who doesn't fit the role or corporate culture. Interviews are a mutual opportunity for both parties to discover if there is potential for a long term-career match. As a potential employee working with a recruiter, you may have a slight advantage over those interviewing cold (without the aid of a recruiter). A recruiter will be able to share some basic information about the interviewer as well as the company's culture. Use this information to help you prepare for the interview. Remember, fortune favors the prepared!
Say Thank You. Many times a potential employee will leave an interview and either forget to say thank you or say it too late. When leaving an interview, the potential employee should thank the interviewer for his/her time before walking out the door. Shortly following the conclusion of the interview, the potential employee should prepare and send a well-written (non-generic) thank you email to everyone he/she met that day; so remember to ask for business cards or take note of each interviewer's email address. It is ideal that the potential employee send the email(s) the same day that the interview took place. Remember the cliché, 'you snooze, you lose'? Well, it is certainly true here. Interviewers had to take time out of their busy day to conduct the interview and he/she chose YOU. Saying thank you is supremely critical.
Let Go And Keep It Moving. Sometimes, no matter how wonderful the interview went, a company may decide to offer the job to someone else. And, as painful as it is to accept, you must let go and move on. If you are working with a recruiting agency, your recruiter may be able to offer you a modest explanation of the company's rationale. But, be clear, an explanation is not owed to you. No matter what you're feeling, you must resist the urge to contact the interviewer to ask if the position is closed or why he/she might have decided against hiring you. The key is to manage your expectations so that you don't become discouraged and abandon your search. Not easy, I know. But it is necessary. Remember, "why" you weren't hired isn't nearly as important as finding your ideal career match! Focus your energy on moving forward. Ask your recruiter to help you find more career opportunities. They'll be happy to do just that, after all that's what they're there for.
These tips will help you have a great interview and ultimately land your dream job. Now, GO GET 'EM!