I have prepared clients for the past two weeks for interviews! It feels good to see interviewing pick up, even a little. Interviewing is not job searching and it requires a different set of skills and mindset. You need to be sensational during the interview! I Tweet and post on my Facebook page a lot of tips for interviewing, but I don’t have them collected in one spot. Uh, well, now I have a blog post! Here are a my top 10 interview tips from the inside (the Hiring Manager’s thoughts):
1. Do your research
When I interview a candidate, if they don’t really know much about the company or firm I am representing, they are OUT. It irritates me so much that they would take up my time. So, go beyond the company website, do some Google searching, and really get to know the company. Surprise me!!
2. Tell me about yourself
When I ask you to tell me about yourself, what I am really asking is to briefly summarize your professional career thus far, and include one or two reasons why you would be a good fit here. DO NOT go into your life story and please, keep it short..like no more than 3 minutes. Otherwise, my thoughts drift…to like what’s for lunch!
3. What can you do for us?
This is purpose of the interview! Please have three strong “bullet points” prepared on what specifically you bring to the table. Leverage your assets, and show me how you are a better choice than the other 3 candidates I interviewed earlier today.
4. Dress to impress
Often overlooked is the fact that many hiring decisions are made within the first few minutes of the interview. Your appearance is important and dressing professionally gives an impression of success. I want to hire successful people, so I do judge you on your outfit. Even if you never wear a suit again in this role, be sure to respect the company enough to WOW them at the first interview.
5. Be honest
If I ask you about something on your résumé, like “How many people did you manage on this project?” give me a straight answer. If was one intern, so be it. I appreciate honesty and it is not necessarily a deal breaker if you haven’t managed 100’s. Management can always be learned; honesty cannot.
Please, do not show up without preparing. Get some role-playing in; have a friend, or hire a coach (shameless plug!) to ask you typical interview questions. I don’t have time for awkward pauses and rambling answers.
Know your career goals and how working for my company fits in, and how you can contribute to my company by working toward your goals. Just don’t tell me your goal is to become my competitor in five years!
A few reminders: Be on time which means not too early as well. And do not bring your cell phone into the interview. I can hear it even on buzz. I find it annoying that you couldn’t do without it for an hour or so. And, don’t wear too much cologne, or smell like cigarettes. Breath mints are good. Please.
9. Strengths and weaknesses
When I ask this, and you know I will, please have something other than “well, I am very detail oriented”…it’s not a weakness!! A weakness is “I am not very proficient at Excel”. And give me a real strength such as “My team leadership has been recognized with over five achievement awards in the past three years” by my peers.
I don’t bring up salary in the first interview, but that’s me. Other interviewers will. Salary is super important in recessionary times, and many companies want to sort it out first. You need to know how much you’re worth, and be prepared to discuss it during the first interview. If you would like to defer it, say something like “I would prefer to discuss salary upon expressed mutual interest, but here’s my required salary range without considering the overall package”.
I hope this helps! I have noticed that interviewing has really picked up since June, and that is a very good sign. Unemployment is still WAY too high, and the competition is fierce for the few positions available. Be sure you are ready for interviewing. You can always contact me if you need help.