You may have heard it all said before.
All the what not to do and the to-dos to guarantee that you ace that job interview.
However, there is more to learn regarding what hiring managers expect from you as a candidate, which will enhance your chances of getting selected.
One difference with today’s lesson (indoctrination for some) is I am sharing from first-hand experience what hiring managers like myself expect from you, an interview candidate.
You, dear candidate, are empowered to improve your chances of being selected.
1. Be on time for your interview
Recently, I chaired a virtual interview panel and reached to a candidate out a few minutes after waiting for her to sign on. She informed me that she thought her interview was the next day and didn’t have the time.
She was beyond late. Instead, she casually no-showed.
Earlier in my career, I had a one-time encounter and experienced not being on time for an interview.
I was in a storm (of all days), followed by taking the wrong exit to a destination I had never been to. I became disoriented when I got lost and clueless about where I was going.
Furthermore, I was flustered upon realizing I would be late.
However, the panel was very understanding and stated they allowed each candidate extra time due to the storm.
Altogether, I was thrown off for my interview that morning and felt I should have taken a hint from the storm I woke up to that day.
We all know life happens, and the universe may scheme against you on your interview day.
We understand. In such cases, prioritize yourself and think about that prospective employer some other time.
However, a random mishap of searching for your “lucky shoe" or socks that "Fido" or “Fluffy” happen to hide the night before will not hold up. If that is the case, communicate with your interview contact about your schedule changes and availability.
That is the least courteous gesture you could do at this time.
Communicating changes in your availability demonstrates your professionalism and respect for your time and interviewer.
2. Use your time efficiently to answer each interview question
I once had a candidate complete her interview in a record 9 minutes.
She was scheduled for a 30 minutes interview.
What did we make of this situation?
As a panel, we appreciated the 21 minutes added back to our day. We were too shocked at what we had just experienced to have a reasonable discussion.
There are ways to stand out and be memorable, but this isn’t one of them.
You may or may not have much to say, but it’s to your credit if you have "enough" to say. Do not allow the interview panel to assume and fill gaps.
Instead, think about the questions you are asked and take your best aim at an answer.
Remember, an employer invited you to an interview because they are interested in interacting with you. They want to hear you present and share your qualification and experience journey.
A resume says so much and so little at the same time. There is a reason why interviews still have a place in the hiring process.
At the very least, give the interview panel something to assess.
Your responses should be enough to keep the panel intrigued and give further insights to help the hiring manager decide about your candidacy.
Do not self-eliminate from the competition.
After all, that is one of the roles of the panel, to thoroughly evaluate your responses and overall qualifications.
3. Be authentic
We've already met your paper version in the form of your resume.
When you arrive for your interview, do not be deceitful and think the panel cannot tell when you're not being honest with us.
Beware of the temptation to fake your way through an interview while expecting a real paycheck.
Just don't, please.
As seasoned interviewers, hiring managers have been through many candidates' shenanigans and over-inflating their experiences.
Suppose an employer hires you under the pretense that you are the best fit for a job for which you are not qualified.
In that case, you'll either need to learn that job quickly and deliver inflated results or risk getting terminated before you even have time to earn that first biweekly paycheck.
We genuinely want to get to know you when we meet you in person or call to interview you.
We would have seen your resume and want to have a conversation with the live, authentic version of yourself at this point in the process.
And it would help if you wanted to know potential employers too. An interview is not a one-and-done. It is an opening for the beginning of what should be an authentic relationship with a potential employer.
An interview is a get-to-know-each-other session. A version of speed dating, as some may call it.
Trust me on this; you want to take the opportunity to know any potential employers as much as they want to know you.
Talk to us and be authentic and honest about what you know and do not know.
Pro tip: If there is something you do not know, state that but also reassure the panel that you have the aptitude and attitude to learn what you need to learn quickly.
Hiring managers value authenticity above inflated egos.
4. Relax. Interviewers are humans too.
You may find this difficult to believe, but the interviewer (s) sitting across the desk from you or on the other side of your computer screen has no more power than you give them.
When I switched gears from being a candidate to the one conducting interviews, this realization was freeing and enlightening. I felt greater compassion for candidates, having once been in their spot.
I often wish I could console and give candidates pep talks before their interviews. In truth, an interview truly isn't life-threatening.
Remind yourself that either way, you have nothing to lose.
You cannot lose what you did not have.
And since you did not arrive at the interview with that "particular" job in hand, leaving without it is not the most significant loss in your life.
Try not to become too stressed and nervous about the prospect of an interview and the risk that you may not get an offer.
You have a short window of time to demonstrate to the interviewer that you are an ideal fit for the organization. Please note organizational fit is different and often more critical than your qualification and experience.
Experience can be gained. Education can be obtained. But you’re either an ideal fit for an organization’s culture or not. You either embrace and support their mission and vision or not.
Remember being the most qualified and experienced candidate doesn't always equate to getting the job.
Beyond what is on your resume, employers are looking for more than hard skills. They are also assessing how you function and manage under pressure, and what better place to test those skills than in the hot seat of an interview?
You are going to be ok with or without that job. Let your confidence and self-assurance do the most outstanding work.
5. Be professional when you follow up after your interview
Regarding interviews, there is a thin line between enthusiasm and desperation. Do not plead your case about why they should hire you.
If a hiring manager or recruiter is impressed with what they have seen and read about you, you will be among the first to know.
After you've done your part, allow the team some time to review the results and get back in touch. Depending on the candidate pool and the position they are filling, the review process could take a while.
Waiting to hear back on the results of your interview is where you should shine with the patience virtue.
Refrain from sitting by the phone, refreshing your email, and worse yet, calling the panel on repeat to know if they've selected you. Again, a hiring manager who wants to hire you will make it known to "you."
Continue your job search until you have a reason to do otherwise.
For those of us who are seeking employment or in the role of hiring others, we can attest that searching for a job is a complicated process.
Nevertheless, employment is a wheel that has been turning for years and will continue to spin in the immediate future.
While you continue to pursue opportunities, do for yourself what only you can do best — set yourself apart from the competition by following the friendly guidelines above.
Your hiring manager will thank you and possibly reward you with an offer.
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