It doesn’t matter what side of the desk you’re sitting on - interviews are hard. There’s a ton of pressure on everybody involved. Hiring the wrong person can cost you time and money. Accepting the wrong job offer can make you miserable and no fun to be around at parties because you won’t stop telling everybody how much you hate your job.
As important as interviews are to hiring people still manage to make some pretty epic and preventable mistakes. As a hiring manager you spend too much time sifting through resumes looking for the perfect candidates and as a job seeker you spend too much time honing your skills and tweaking your resume to blow the interview.
So much emphasis is placed on Interviews it can be easy to forget that an interview is just a conversation, an opportunity for people to get to know each other better. That’s it. Sure, the stakes are higher than most conversation, and yes your future does depend on the outcome, but an interview is only a conversation. So, you won’t be doing anybody any favors by not being yourself. Too often people walk into interviews with pre-conceived notions of what is expected from them. With so much information available on how to interview, It is easy to make assumptions about what managers and candidates want to hear. Fundamentally, an interview is a conversation, people getting to know each other. Too many times, people go into an interview situation with an expectation of what the other person wants to hear. Hiring managers start overselling the position or company. Candidates who are eager to please, answer questions the way they assume managers want to hear them.
You’re not doing anybody any favors by not being yourself. This doesn’t mean you should walk into an interview wearing a black flag t-shirt, ten-gallon hat, and swearing like a sailor. You need to present the absolute best version of yourself. Be comfortable with who you are.
If you’re a candidate know your capabilities and be able to directly answer manager questions by giving specific examples from your past that pertain to the work that needs to be accomplished. If you’re asked about something you haven’t done before you should be able to answer by pointing out what projects you worked on in the past relate to what you’re being asked. If you are unable to talk about your resume in great detail and relate your work experience to other areas then you need to sit down and study the job description and your resume more. Maybe seek out a professional who can sit down with you and give you some specific advice on interviewing.
If you’re a manager know exactly what skills you team is missing and ask specific questions that will let you know if this candidate has done the work or is at least capable of learning how to get the work done. This doesn’t mean you are supposed to ignore a candidate’s attitude just because they have a strong skill set. You need to look at the total package. How is this person going to fit in with the rest of your team? As a manger it is in your best interest to reach out to someone who has specializes in interviewing to offer some guidance on finding the right person.
This blog was written by Rob Zawatski. Rob is from Buffalo, NY and currently lives in a suburb of Philadelphia. A jack of all trades, he has spent the last 6 years working in the staffing industry.