The difference between a good interview and a great interview can be vast; and it’s the very distinction between the two which can change the course of your career. There are often two types of individuals who find themselves in a room interviewing for an open position: Those who have to be there, and those who choose to. For the former, there are a thousand articles floating around the web, most chock full of the same points phrased in different ways. This series aims to speak to the latter, to those who take time from a busy professional life to schedule precious hours to tackle the next step of their careers.
To this end, we have sought the advice of ten highly respected individuals who, while their paths and positions vary greatly, all have valuable insight we wish to share with you.
In our first of an informative three-part series, we begin with:
Know the company
“The internet leaves candidates zero excuse not to come into the room at least somewhat knowledgeable about the company and probably the division for which you are being interviewed.”
No truer words, from Arron Norris, Vice President of the Norris Group. In this day and age, every company (or very nearly so) will not only have a presence on the web, but a very well developed one. Use your time wisely in exploring their website, perusing everything from their home page to the most recessed pages in their site directory. It’s very likely that you’ll be able to turn up some useful tidbits of information that may find a resounding mark in your in-person interview as the conversation evolves.
As Kim Eldred—M.S., Consultant and Career Coach—says, “Informed candidates give the impression that they are genuinely interested in the company.”
Maximizing impact takes two forms: One is the impact you present in yourself, and the other is that which you can offer the company. This refers, of course, to value. This is your opportunity to demonstrate just that, both in equal measure, as both are equally important.
Demonstrating your own value is your pre-game, not something to be haphazardly strung together the night before. Have a solid track record of your major accomplishments, a strong portfolio, a website, a current and well-connected Linked In page—all of these things are tools that can speak to your value as a professional with proven skills.
The value you can offer the company comes into play in the actual interview. It is here that your research—again done thoroughly and assiduously—is brought to bear.
As Dan Lee Addy (CEO | Technology, Media and Telecommunications Recruitment
Leeds) suggests: “Understand everything you can about the people you are going to see. What is the background of the interviewer, who did they work for and with and is there any synergy. Is it HR running the Interview or is it the CEO? Depending on who it is they may well be looking for different things—YOU MUST TALK TO YOUR AUDIENCE.”
Be genuine. In this professionally oriented context, to be genuine primarily refers to two central tenets: to be forthright and to stand well, with no dissembling. Marielle Smith, VP of People at GoodHire, recommends three primary approaches to walk the walk: firstly, by being direct. If you want the job, come right out and say so from the start. Someone who expresses their enthusiasm, interest, and excitement about an opportunity is often much appreciated by hiring managers. Secondly, “trashing” your previous employers, regardless of circumstance, will raise more doubts than not about your own skills and ability to work well with others. Finally, express your gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity that brought you to the interview—and should it turn out the position isn’t the fit you thought it could be and you find yourself declining an offer, be gracious about it. Business circles connect in a multitude of ways; you never know when or where you may run into someone from past encounters.
In all, the clever professional never goes into a meeting unprepared, and with the proper outlook, versatility, and mindset, will always find a way to add value. In part two, we’ll be exploring further aspects of this valuable puzzle—see you there.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200