Hello SOTGC community,
When it comes time for that “all important yet stress-filled” job interview, it’s important to know what recruiters and hiring managers want. The following tips come from some of the best recruiters in the country. You may be surprised to hear what they have to say.
Prepare for the interview.
- Ask yourself, “Why do I want to work for this company?” and be prepared to talk about it. Interviewees often speak to why they want the job but forgot to speak in terms of why they want to work for the company. Build your knowledge about the company, i.e. how does it make money? What do the analysts say about it? What is the company’s culture?
- Prior to the interview, review your resume and think about your key results and key roles you’ve had.
- Organize your responses. Interviewees often get lost in their answers because they are nervous during the interview. Here is a model you can use to organize your responses; it’s called the S.T.A.R. model.
S = What was the Situation you found yourself in
T = What Task did you have to achieve
A = What were the Action(s) taken
R = What were the Result(s) or outcomes from the actions taken
Most employers use behavior-based interview questions such as, “Tell me a time when you….” Use the S.T.A.R. model to organize your answers. Employers want solid answers to their questions, but they’re listening for how well you articulate information.
- Dress one level up for the job you’re applying for. If the job you’re applying allows jeans Monday through Friday, wear a nice skirt, blouse and/or sweater to the interview. The key here is dress professionally; you can never go wrong by doing so.
Put your best self forward! From the time you walk into the lobby until you leave you are interviewing. The staff notices everything about you: how you show up, what you’re wearing, how comfortable you are in your outfit, if you project confidence in your posture, body language, facial expressions, and strong handshake, and how you interact with others, including the receptionist. I once escorted a candidate through an all-day interview process. She was applying for our company’s corporate communications role, and I was to ensure that she made every meeting and interview. When I tried to start up conversations with her, she dismissed them. I noticed she never asked me about what I did for the company or what I thought about working there. Yet when I introduced her to our executives she was articulate and friendly. After each interview, I escorted her back to the waiting room, and she maintained the same cold demeanor with me. After she left that day, the recruiter and hiring manager shared with me that the candidate had done well in all her interviews. Then they asked what I thought about her. Let’s put it this way, she didn’t get the job. Interviewing is more than the actual interview itself. The hiring staff is making decisions about you across every moment and interaction. They even notice how you walk in your shoes. Yes! If you don’t look comfortable in the shoes you’ve selected for the interview, that tells them something about you and the choices you make.
Position your language. I once asked a recruiter what was the toughest question she has ever asked or heard. She answered, “Describe yourself in one word.” (I’ve heard a similar question: “Describe yourself in terms of an animal”). When candidates are asked such questions, employers are not looking for your “wow” answer. They are listening for what you say and how you say it. Are your answers well organized, are you confident, and what are your word choices. They’re looking for a candidate’s confident presence and if he/she can do the job. Nothing turns recruiters off more than those who use less than definitive language such as “I believe,” “kinda,” or “I think.” Both genders use these phrases but recruiters will tell you-women do more than men. This use of language affects how well we articulate and sell our strengths and accomplishments.
Parting Words: As you know, you should always have questions prepared to ask your interviewers. It’s fine to have them written down and refer to them at the end of the interview when you’re asked, “What questions do you have?” Questions should address: 1) information about the company that you did not find from your research prior to the interview; 2) the culture and people at the company and the company’s customers; and 3) what the interviewers like about working at the company. You could even ask what are some of the challenges with the industry. Never ask about the job’s salary, benefits or work schedule during the interview. Many recruiters discuss this in the pre-screening interview. If they don’t, take questions like these offline with the recruiter and only address these questions at the point you’re told you have the job. It’s more acceptable at this point to discuss and negotiate for salary and benefits. The last question to ask is, “What is the next step, or follow-up for the job?” Employers will always provide a timeframe for when hiring decisions will be made. If they tell you a decision will be made in two weeks, and you don’t hear back from them, follow up with them at that time. This will minimize the guesswork of how often to communicate with a recruiter or hiring manager.
As you’re leaving the interview, shake hands and make eye contact with those who have interviewed you. Thank them again for the interview, their time, and also say, “I really enjoyed this, and I’m very interested in the position.” When this is from your heart, it will sound very natural and a recruiter will find this very impressive.
Finally, what if you don’t get the job? You can’t go wrong sending a gracious email thanking them for the recent opportunity to interview with them and articulate that you are interested in working for this company or the hiring manager in the future. You never know if you were a close second in the interview process and they would definitely consider you for another opening.
Remember, in an interview process, you are always interviewing, and sometimes it’s just a matter of time before you get the role that is right for you!
Here’s to your success!
So you ready for that interview coming up? If so please Tweet, Pin, or share this post on LinkedIn to help others on their road to success.