Hello SOTGC community,
In my last two blogs I have talked about the all-encompassing job search, and there’s a piece I want to expand upon from last week’s blog, a section entitled: “parting words.” Read further to learn how to nail a job interview.
Last week I wrote:
“Parting Words: 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. 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.”
I put a lot of time and thought into the questions I ask at the end of an interview process. It shows that I’m engaged in the process and have great interest for the organization. I’ve also used this portion of the interview to address any elephants in the room or re-address any interview questions that I felt I answered less than satisfactorily.
I once worked for a dot.com company and was interviewing for an internal position as an engineering manager. I had no engineering background but was asked to apply based on my leadership skills. The first interview was a panel interview with the team of managers and employees. One of my final questions to the panel was this, “What concerns do you have if you were to work with a colleague or manager with no engineering background?” My purpose for asking this question was to address the elephant in the room – I was not an engineering subject matter expert. My expertise was in working with customers and building talent. I also knew I was interviewing in an elite area of our engineering department so the pressure was on to do well. That question drew out numerous concerns, and I could tell by their body language they were eager to speak to this question. I was able to address their concerns by clarifying roles and how I would support them in their role. That technique worked because I was asked to move forward in the process.
My next interview was with the hiring manager. She was a tough interviewer. When she asked me what my 30/60/90 day plan was for the role, I was actually stumped. I went blank. I gave an answer but I knew my answer was not what she was looking for. I could see it on her face. At the end of the interview when she asked what questions I had – I said, “Let’s go back to the question regarding the 30/60/90 day plan. I can tell by the look on your face that I did not provide enough information to satisfy that question,” so I re-articulated better ideas for a 30/60/90 day plan. This time my response was better and by re-addressing the question at the end of the interview, I bought a second chance to address it. My nervousness had also subsided so I was able to answer with more conviction. I got the job. The hiring manager told me later I got the job because she was looking for someone who could read people, and I had read her face during the interview. I found the right moment to go back to the question and resurrect my answer.
Don’t be afraid to use the end of your interview to identify elephants in the room, re-address questions, or simply ask, “Are there any concerns you have about any of the responses I have provided, or my qualifications?” They will tell you if they have qualms about you – listen to what they have to say, and remember – you now have another chance to speak to those concerns. Don’t walk out the door without doing this! It shows a mature and confident demeanor to address the tougher issues. Many job applicants do not do this. It will set you a part if you do it well, with professionalism and heart.
Here’s to your success!
Ready to tackle your next interview? If so please share this post on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ to help spread the advice.