Interviews… some people can really get excited and thrive. For many others, it can be a high anxiety experience. Every time a candidate interviews with one of our clients, we solicit feedback that will benefit all 3 parties involved. The client will get a better insight on their ideal candidate criteria and be able to better direct us in our search, filtering and vetting. Additionally, the candidate will get a better understanding of their impression upon a potential employer, how to respond to certain questions and hopefully more confidence for the next opportunity as well. When done right, it’s an extremely valuable tool for everyone.
For purposes of this discussion, we’ll focus on 5 simple steps that you the candidate can take to improve your odds of moving forward in the hiring process. Although they may seem obvious at times, it can be easy to stray away from the basics when in the moment. Especially if you have a seasoned interviewer, then they will keep you talking as you strive to avoid the awkward silence. Invariably, you will end up down a path you did not intend.
- Don’t Dwell on Your Ex. This is true in first dates and this is true in job interviews, and for basically the same reason. They will question your commitment to moving forward. Do you really want this new opportunity or are you just “seeing what’s out there”?
- Know Your Suitor. Do as much research about your potential employer as possible. For our industry (hospitality), come in for lunch/dinner/drinks at some point a few days prior. Have an opinion on the menu, décor and service. Know how many locations there are? Are they local, regional or national? Have they recently won any notable awards? The more at your fingertips, the more you seem engaged. This is huge.
- Questions Are Good, But Be Strategic. Write down questions that you may have prior to going in and bring a note pad and pen to take potential notes. It’s a new company and a new job, so understanding the role, expectations and compensation is legitimate. However, be strategic with the order in which you ask and be sure not to ask about an aspect that has already been answered. For example, the first question out of your mouth should not be about salary, benefits and PTO. Have an understanding of the role and expectations before discussing compensation.
- Have Real Examples/Situations at The Ready. Resumes are filled with cliché buzzwords that can sound good when reading. However, when conducting pre-screenings, I’ve often come across candidates struggling to provide an example. Or worse yet, they’re not even sure what it means. For example, one candidate was using the word “profit” when they should’ve been using “revenue”. Upon further questioning, it was apparent they did not know what they were speaking about.
- Be Honest. It’s a simple as that. If you were terminated, don’t dance around it. The employer will most likely find out anyway in the process of due diligence. Instead talk about how you used as a learning experience for your next opportunity. More often than not, the cover up is worse than the crime.
I left out a number of others such as dress the part, get plenty of sleep, don’t slouch, etc. Hopefully, you’re past needing the most basic of instruction. These 5 are meant to give you focus as you present yourself and your experience to a potential employer. And lastly, c’mon… who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? Happy Hunting!
Joshua Petzel – Managing Director