The basics of interview technique are pretty well covered; arrive on time, dress appropriately for the job, research the company, don’t take calls during the interview (wait – people need to be told that?). These are the things that you need to get right to stay in the running for the job. I’ve just been through a round of recruiting and found a great person to hire. Here are some of the things candidates did that made them stand out.
- Show Some Personality
In how you dress, how you speak, how you behave, and in the stories you tell.
One of the questions we asked related to working with people resistant to change. Most people gave a textbook answer about change management. The stand out answer was from the person who began “It cost me a lot of pizza” with a laugh.
- Be Enthusiastic
About the company, the role, what you can bring to it, what it can bring you.This goes beyond research the company, find a way to connect something personal or from your work history to the company. And for goodness sake know which products or services you use. We asked everyone we interviewed what products they had in their home from our company – I didn’t have a predefined “perfect answer” for this, but the guy who recalled seeing an old radio from our company at his grandfather’s house scored bonus points for showing some knowledge of the company’s legacy
- Interview the Company
Think of an interview as a date in that both sides need to learn about each other – you both need to know that this is a relationship worth pursuing. I was at an all day interview a while ago, half way through the day I realised that this was not the right company for me. Frankly it was a relief when they turned me down. Ask questions about work expectations, career advancement, company values by all means. But ask more, ask your future boss how she (or he) likes to work, ask about the company’s most recent success, ask how they correct mistakes. As about the ambitions of the company, the department and the team you’ll be joining. You’ll learn more about whether this is a match for you from those answers.
You’re going to spend a lot of time with the company working with the people there, it needs to be a match.
As the candidates had been screened based on their CVs and an initial phone interview the people I met were all strong candidates. Following the interviews there were several I would have been happy to bring on board, and one outstanding candidate who starts next month.
The candidates who stood out in the interviews I’ve conducted in the last six weeks showed something beyond a professional confidence – they dared to be themselves.