Reflecting back through the thousands of people I have interviewed, there are only a handful of individuals that still stick out in my mind. Some for their impressive approaches… some for their less-than-impressive approaches. You have a personal brand that is shared every single time you go through an interview process. Let’s look at it closer.
Let The Games Begin!
Interviewee pulls into the parking lot, turns down the stereo, rolls up the windows… checks for pepper in their teeth. Opens the door, steps out, closes the door. Walks to the entrance, greets the receptionist, has a seat. Waits for 10-15 minutes.
Congratulations, you may have already completed half of your interview!
One little trick that some recruiters love to use is very voyeuristic in nature. Catching a glimpse as to how a candidate conducts themselves before they think they are being evaluated can reveal a ton of information. Also, that receptionist… well, she/he is probably your first official interviewer. They won’t introduce themselves that way… but, you can bet with a pretty high level of certainty that he/she will be asked about you after you’ve gone. Very common!
Do you grab a magazine and relax or do you review your notes? Are you picking your nose (I’ve seen it happen)? Are you fidgeting in your chair or starting a conversation with people around you? Please do not practice your answers in the waiting room… it will look like you are talking to yourself (and yes, I have seen this as well). Be friendly to the receptionist, but (Guys!) don’t flirt too much… that’s a red flag too. Ask smart questions and be funny… just don’t be a slime ball pick-up-artist – it doesn’t work and she doesn’t like you.
Just in case, bring a book along in your briefcase. As you pick out that ideal “smart” book, leave out anything having to do with politics or religion. Unless you are applying to work for the government or a religious institution… in that case, scratch my advice.
Avoid doing the leg bounce as you sit there. It looks strange and makes you appear nervous… no good!
Ask the front desk person how long they have been with the organization. Ask them how their experience has been. Get him/her to talk about themselves… people like to talk about themselves, so let them.
Do not get nervous about the recruiter/manager showing up. If you stare down every person that passes by, you’ll seem too eager… so, calm down! That’s why good conversation or an excellent book helps… gets you to focus on something else other than time.
The Recruiter Arrives
A firm (not Terminator firm) handshake and a smile. I’m convinced that there should be advanced training around the handshake and greeting smile… seriously.
Know that recruiters, in many cases, are excellent judges of character. Yes, they are going to ask you questions… but, the judgment is already well on its final path to conclusion. Before you ever sit down, I would guess that you’re 75% of the way through… good job!
Now, for the interview itself. The rules are simple:
- Be Candid
- Make eye contact – Not stalker-like, but consistent eye contact helps!
- Answer as completely as possible without making it one-sided.
Concluding The Interview
This is important. If you forget everything else we’ve discussed, just remember this last part.
Interviews are a part of a “rule-in, rule-out” process. At each step, decisions have to be made. Your job is to help the recruiter clear up questions. One of the best ways I have found to do this is to ask the following question:
“Based on what we have discussed, do you have any concerns with my ability to perform well in this role?”
Most people, when asked a direct question, will give a direct answer. This is your opportunity to get through any objections that the recruiter may not have vocalized. The alternative, of course, is to leave them with their assumptions about you and what you can or cannot do. So, given the chance… just ask the question! Besides, if you are going to be ruled out, it’s better to know early on instead of waiting around for a couple of weeks.
Finally, depart in good standing.
Another firm handshake, a smile and be sure to ask if there are any additional steps that you should be taking to assist in the selection process. Be sure that you have their address and correct name so that you can write a follow-up “Thank You” note. Yes, this is still a good practice.
Nothing groundbreaking… but, hopefully these few tips will help you next time you find yourself in an interview process. This is, in no way, a complete list of best practices – it should, however, get you started.
What other tips do you have to share? Has something worked very well for you in the past? What do you think recruiters? Any other approaches you really appreciate when interviewing a candidate?
Photo Credit, anyjazz65