Interview Do’s and Don’ts
By: Andrew C. Jackson
Google “interview tips” and you’ll find a year’s worth of reading…222,000,000 results, to be exact. With all this available advice, you would think that today’s Internet-savvy job candidates are making few, if any, errors when talking to recruiters and hiring managers. Unfortunately, we still see smart, qualified applicants who fail to mentally prepare for interviews and lose great opportunities as a result. Before your next interview, read a few articles on how to prepare, and if you are working with a recruiter, ask them for the inside scoop on how to impress the managers you will be meeting with. Here are a few additional tips from our recruiters.
Confidence (Not Cockiness) is Important.
Being nervous is normal, but it tends to undermine interviews. A nervous candidate has difficulty listening to the questions being asked and responding in an articulate way. Bragging is as much of a turnoff as being nervous. If you tend to get a case of nerves before interviews, being ultra-prepared will help. Research the company. Prepare your answers to difficult questions, such as “why did you leave your last job,” or “tell me about a difficult co-worker and how you resolved the situation.”
I like the quote, “Be yourself…everyone else is already taken.” People are attracted to honesty and repelled by someone who is faking it. Be familiar with the job requirements before the interview and be able to talk honestly about your experience in each of those areas. If you don’t have a skill, just say so, perhaps adding that you have some related skills or giving an example of a time when you had to quickly master a new skill. Keep in mind that “integrity” might be an important prerequisite for the position!
The more examples you can give to illustrate your experience, the more credible your answers will be. Come to the interview with several stories in hand that illustrate your experience and problem-solving abilities. Be specific, not general. Say, “Yes, I’ve done that before. Here’s an example…”, and then come back and ask, ‘Did that answer your question?'”
There are serious interviewers and there are laid back interviewers, and while being friendly and relaxed will help your rapport, making an off-color remark will not. Be careful not to cross the line. Occasionally a hiring manager is so friendly and laid back, candidates may think they can say anything – and then when they do, they’re out.
Ask Great Questions
One of the best ways to impress recruiters and hiring managers is to ask intelligent questions about the company and the requirements of the position. This shows you’ve done your homework. It’s also important to ask a closing question that indicates your interest in the position. One recruiter said, “What I love hearing people say at the end of an interview is ‘Do you have any reservations about my ability to perform the job?’ It’s important to ask for the job.”