Taking advantage of Opportunity
Have you ever awoke from a slumber and found yourself in a job interview? Yeah, me neither. My point is that going on a job interview is an intended, purposeful act. For most, our jobs are our primary means of financially supporting families and ourselves. Our careers require a great deal of our time, energy and passion and are an extremely important aspect of our lives. Each interview we chose to go on should be treated with care and the proper time allocated to conduct sufficient preparation.
In my role as a professional in the IT staffing and talent acquisition space, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to sit through literally hundreds of client/candidate interviews. Through these interactions I’ve come away with many lessons learned, but wanted to share a few of the most important in this blog.
Research the Company!
If you’re going to interview for a position, regardless of your level of motivation from passive to highly interested, conduct research! The inevitable first question from the hiring manager is, “Tell me what you know about our company.” Not having done even just a little research, sends the impression that you’re lazy, not really interested in the opportunity and that you feel so highly about yourself that the company would be lucky to have you on their team. It sends the message that you do not need to worry about fitting their culture but that they should worry about their culture fitting you. In my personal opinion, this is by far the biggest turn off. The quickest way to end an interview for an internal position at CLICK IT is by not being able to answer this question with some detail that proves your interest and that you know and understand a bit about us. After all, depending on your position, you’re asking the company to commit to you and invest anywhere from $50-150K annually. And you can’t do a little research?
Dress the Part!
Not all interviews require the candidate to wear their best suit and tie. In fact, in many instances, not wearing a suit, tie or even jacket is the route to go. My rule of thumb is to dress “one notch” above what the interviewer will be wearing with the minimum standard being khakis and a golf or button down shirt. (For the ladies of the world you’d be silly to take fashion advice from me so translate accordingly.) It would seem obvious to most that you want to make as positive an impression as you can during an interview without going over the top. However, I’ve witnessed so many instances of where the candidate fails to do this by wearing the completely wrong type of clothes. Tennis shoes, wrinkled pants and dated shirt that clearly needs to be retired with sunglasses pushed to the top of your head is not my idea of interview attire.
Be prepared to answer Questions
If you’re a professional in any space, you’ve been involved with interviewing previously. Interviews can take many shapes and paths from being more of a conversation about you and your experiences, to the “typical Interview 101” style of questions. I would encourage candidates to spend time mentally preparing by reversing the roles and interviewing themselves. What types of questions would you ask if you were the hiring manager for the job you are seeking? What examples of successes can you speak about from your previous experiences? What do you consider to be your core strengths, both technically, skill related and more interpersonal? Why should the company hire you (besides you need a job)? This is not rocket science, but being prepared to tell your story takes chance out of play. I often go back to the 5 P’s – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Through proper preparation you will be increasing the likelihood of your desired outcome coming to fruition.
Steve Smith, CLICK IT Staffing