5 answers

What are some good tips for someone new to interviews?

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I don't really have much experience with interviews in the past and was just wondering what are some things I should have in mind when others interview me. #interviews #interviewing-skills #interviewing #job-application #personal-development

5 answers

Hope’s Answer


Hi, Kemi. Wow! It is a privilege hearing from a hiring manager like Hagen. I was also a hiring manager. Here are some things that really impressed me about the people I was interviewing. - Knowledge about the company (their business opportunities/challenges and their successes) - Ability to explain how your skills relates to and enhances the role described -Strong desire to be a part of the company -Respect for the company -Ability to give specific responses to interview questions -Ability to sufficiently describe who he/she will be a great teammate -Knowledge about the company's commitment to the community -Of course be early

Consider going by the company to see how others are dressed. Dress well, but comfortably so the last thing you have to worry about during the conversation is how you look or the perception of your attire. Though this is just a start, this will certainly help give you leverage. I hope this helps. Good luck, Kemi!

Thank you!!

Hagen’s Answer


This may seem a bit negative, but as I hiring manager I found the expectations of the candidate usually pretty unrealistic. From experience, the hiring manager has lots of day job obligations and hiring is generally a side show in that circus. I am not saying hiring isn't important. It's actually extremely important, but most managers aren't very good at it and, because it happens sporadically, they don't get a lot of practice.

Resumes are generally not very helpful and consequently most hiring managers don't delve into them in advance. They tended to be conversation makers, 'I see you worked at X' or 'You went to college Y' 'Tell me about that'. I got a lot of resumes which were from people with NO QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE in the posted position. People would just shotgun out their resumes and see what stuck so that didn't do a lot to build confidence in the value of resumes.

Likewise, the job description provided by the company usually doesn't really do a good or even adequate job of explaining the role and its real responsibilities. That's unfortunate, but creating a meaningful job description (which often isn't the task of the hiring manager) is just as hard as creating a meaningful resume and therefore, it doesn't happen that often.

Skills and technical experience and qualifications are important but the hiring manager is also just as worried about fit. Can you integrate with the other employees on the team, with the other teams his team supports. In my world we support sales people, so I wanted to determine whether the candidate would be able to work with sales, keep their hours, respond quickly to their demands and generally impress them with their credentials. Not all roles are that political but I would say determining how well the candidate will fit in to the company is always important and not often seen that way by the candidate.

I always tried to convey a picture of "a day int he life" of the role for which I was hiring. As a candidate, you should try and get as clear a picture of what that day will be like and whether that is REALLY how you want to spend your time. For example, application programming is hot these days and, at times, I wish my programming skills were better. However, programmers spend the day inside tethered to a computer for hours. In reality I like to get out and meet people. So as much as I romanticize that job, I probably wouldn't be that happy doing it full time. You need to ask yourself, am I going to be happy doing this job day in and day out. That's hard to know as a candidate, but asking the hiring manager and the technical interviewers how they spend their day, what they like and don't like about the job will help you paint a more realistic picture of the role.

Dress appropriately for the interview. Interviews are a bit like a first date and managers expect your attire is going to be 'the best he or she can expect' from the candidate. If that is substandard on the first date, there is reason for concern about the future.

All hiring managers have a problem they are hoping you can solve, There is a gap that needs to be filled and they are actually hoping you can fill it. Generally, if there is an open position they are filling in and shouldering some of that workload themselves. Ask the hiring manager what his or her problem is. 'Who would I work with supporting what external accounts or internal teams?' 'What's the perfect candidate look like?' Think creatively about your qualifications and your ability to step into that role and take that burden off the hiring manager. Your ability to convince them that you can fill their gap is fundamental to getting hired.

Finally, take a look at the book Designing Your Life by Burnett and Evans. There is a chapter on job hunting (7: How not to get a job) and they argue against resumes and the formal hiring process. Their approach makes a lot of sense so I recommend reading that chapter - the whole book is terrific.



Thank you!

Sarah’s Answer


I remember being so nervous when I first started interviewing. for jobs and internships. Since those first interviews I took time to practice and have nearly a 100% interview success ratio i.e. anytime I've done an onsite interview I've gotten a job offer. Some things I do that always help me:

  1. Research the organization and their core values - bake those into your answers if you can
  2. Research yourself - what do you like? what kind of work/tasks do you enjoy? what skills/attributes do you bring that make you valuable e.g. you know Google Suite, how to make videos, how to organize or you have a strong work ethic, you build relationships and trust quickly, you're results focused etc.
  3. Treat it as a two way conversation. Sometimes interviewing can be set up so that it feels like you're being interrogated with question after question. If this is your experience remember that the interviewer isn't trying to judge you, they're trying to learn where your strengths and areas of growth are. Also, sometimes, interviewers can be just as nervous as you especially if they haven't interviewed much before.
  4. Be yourself - I'm a very quirky personality and have a random Irish sense of humor. Smiling and being approachable while also finding common ground with your interviewer can help break the ice but don't try mold yourself into being what you think the other person is looking for. I've had so many experiences as a recruiter where I've presented a candidate where the hiring manager had doubts about them on paper and not convinced on their suitability but were blown away and a Strong Yes after interviewing them. Sometimes managers don't know what they're looking for until they see it in front of them.
  5. Prepare - think about the competencies that may be relevant for the position you're interviewing for and have a set of examples ready to use that you can draw from.
  6. Have thoughtful questions for your interviewers. Don't come with questions about comp/benefits. It gives the impression that's all you care about and most organizations want people who are interested in them, not the comp. Offer negotiations is when you can have those conversations. Come up with questions about the team, interviewers, organization. e.g. what are learning opportunities and growth. you noticed an interviewer is originally from another company, why did they join or one of them is from another country, why did they move?

Carole’s Answer


The key to having a good interview is to have a good resume that will get you that interview. There are many good books out there that you can get in the library or go on-line for information on a good resume and interviewing tips. I will focus more on your question about interviewing. Here are a few points to think about: 1. Form a Career Counselor's point of view I have already stated that you must have a good and relatable resume for the job that you will be interviewing. If your qualifications fit nicely with what the job asks for then we are off and running to that interview. 2. Research the company that you will be interviewing for and know about the history and other points of interest that will allow you to go to that interview with knowledge and the ability to answer the questions given to you. For instance if they ask you "Why do you want to work at this company in this position", you will be able to sell yourself to them by answering this question by saying " I would like to work at this company because I read that this company (and then you can give them a reason why you want to work there from the information you read about them, and also from the qualifications that you have in helping the company get to their goals.) 3. To feel comfortable going to the interview you also have to practice answering questions with a friend or family member to become familiar with some of the questions that you might be asked. One of my favorite books to use as a reference for resumes and interviewing tip is called "The Job Search solution" by Tony Beshara. It is filled with good questions and will help you to Sell Yourself, and that is what you must do to get the job you want. It will give you some script and ideas for you to think about. 4. To have a good interview there are some personal techniques to think about before you walk into the interviewers Office: Get there a little early, must be rested, know what you will wear and make sure it is clean and ironed, and also go prepared with resume, and a list of references (but wait until they ask for the references). You shake hands, smile, after a few minutes you may hand them a copy of your resume and make sure you bring a couple with you. They will ask you to sit down and you use your polite qualities whenever needed. They will most likely start the conversation and you follow their cue. If they start asking questions about your background as they are now looking at your resume, they it is your time to talk about how you feel you can help this company with the certain qualifications you have. During this question and answer time you must relax, think the question through and be very honest when you speak. No fidgeting with fingers or if female, no playing with hair, or crossing legs and kicking, chewing gum or any other nervous actions. These are personal and will hinder your possibilities for getting the job. 5. Leaving the interview: They probably will say we have more candidates to interview and we will let you know in a few weeks if you got the job. You say thank you and ask for their business card in a polite manner and ( that will allow you to send a thank you note to the person that was interviewing you either hand-written or email. 6. Don't call them to find out if you have the job if you haven't heard yet, but after 2 - 3 weeks you may call or email to find out if the job has been filled. sometimes it takes more than a month to find the right person. 7. the Four Main topics for a GOOD INTERVIEW IS: HAVE A GOOD RESUME; RESEARCH THE COMPANY; KNOW HOW TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND PRACTICE; AND BE RELAXED, RESTED, AND CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF!!

If you follow these points and ask people to help you with your answers you will most likely get some calls back for a possible second interview. I wish you luck and if there are any other questions please let me know.

Thank you!

Ryan’s Answer


Hi Kemi,

Great question. You've already received some fantastic feedback from the other responses to your question and I agree with all of those tips. There's one thing that I'd like to add...and that's to always 'be yourself.' Many times job candidates can try to be something they are not, just for the sake of getting the job. I've made this mistake as a candidate, as well as seen this as an interviewer (note: I'm not a hiring manager). A job can be a long term commitment, and it is worth making sure that the company and culture fits you as a person. At the end of the day, you will excel at a job which you are qualified for, know well, and fits your personality.

Hope that helps. Best of luck!