April 23, 2019

Grads! Interview Advice from a Hiring Manager

Nearly everyone prepares for an interview using the Job Description as a guide. That’s great; however, the Hiring Manager is looking for a lot more…

Helping clients get ready for a big interview is some of my favorite work. 

I love partnering with professionals to nail the (often-time) scary event.  Whether the discussion is 30 minutes over the phone or 5 hours in a conference room, getting hired often goes beyond previous experiences or qualifications.

One of the first questions we tackle together is, “What are Hiring Managers looking for when evaluating the potential fit of a candidate?”  As a former Hiring Manager responsible for bringing-on hundreds of full-time employees, the answer to this question is a little “science” and a bunch of “art.” Remember, Hiring Managers (and interview team members) are humans too!

Whether you’re getting ready for your first interview or your 101st, everyone can benefit from an insider’s perspective!

Here’s my best practices to set yourself apart and influence that hiring decision in your favor:

Know your stuff.  This is where the Professional Story really comes into play.  Being able to (quickly) articulate your value to the role (and the team) is critical in establishing a connection to the Hiring Manager.  Often your chance to show your stuff comes-up after the most asked question in interviews, “So tell me about yourself.” You should answer the question within  three minutes, knowing the Hiring Manager is probably judging your response in the first 45 seconds!

Have a POV.  Your point-of-view around how you see the opportunity and what impact you’re going to make in the future is key.  Hiring Managers want someone with an opinion.  Hiring Managers want someone who is thinking 6-12 months ahead. Hiring Managers want someone who is driven by potential.  Your future is just as important as your past – don’t forget that!

Be mindful.  Take your time preparing for a big interview. Often, I work with clients 48 hours before a big event. That gives both of us time to think about our approach, refine answers, and (most importantly) visualize the experience. On the day of the event, I coach clients to meditate quietly, show-up early, and answer slowly.

Remember the basics.  All the stuff you were taught in your “Business 101” course.  Dress accordingly.  Bring a copy of your resume.  Be nice to the receptionist. Take notes.  Stand when people enter the room. Have good eye contact. Ask strategic questions. Firm handshake.  Talk slowly. Don’t order a messy lunch. Take breaks when needed.

Be human.  What do I mean by this?  Well, in one word … smile!  It’s amazing to me how much of an impact a simple smile can make – not only for you as the interviewer, but for the person who’s interviewing you as well.  It sets a great tone, relaxes everyone and I guarantee will make the experience less stressful.  Promise!

Say thanks.  I know, I know.  Your mother’s voice is probably coming through loud-and-clear right about now.  Ha-ha!  But this is super important (and an easy way to differentiate yourself).  I remember receiving thank you emails MAYBE 10% (!!!) of the time, and when I did get a message (especially a relevant & connected message) it made a world of difference. Keep the email short-and-sweet, with gratitude & excitement for the role coming through loud-and-clear.

Your homework this week:Think about how you’ve prepared for big interview in the past.  Did the work go beyond the Job Description?  Did you incorporate some of the best practices mentioned above?  And even if you’re not preparing for an interview, can you bring-in some of these recommendations to make your overall professional experience better?  Give it a try!

Coming-up next time:  It’s the end of April and that means resource time!  I’ll send you my favorite Book, Article, TEDTalk and PodCast (BATP) for all the college grads out there! And even if you’re not walking across the stage, I think you’ll get value out of my picks!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

Tom Perry's Signature

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