The last thing you want to do during an interview is to be boring, phony or waste the hiring manager’s time. So, what are the things that turn hiring managers on or off? While every interview is different, there are some common elements to keep in mind. Here some thoughts to consider:
- Be well prepared. Research the company, it’s products, services and finances. Understand its people philosophy and operating style. Slip in a piece of information that tells the hiring manager that you have done your homework. A candidate that demonstrates their lack of knowledge about the industry, slides down the rankings.
- Show the skills that are most needed and technologies that are up-to-date. That tells the hiring manager that training is minimized and your ability to contribute to results are a matter of weeks, not months. Emphasize certifications and advanced programs.
- Results achieved from prior jobs are transferable to the open position. When the hiring manager can see a direct relationship between your past experiences and the job to be done, your value increases. The greater the parallels to the new job, the better.
- The potential to grow with the needs of the organization are clear. Any experiences that show you’re ready for the next step in the responsibilities of the job will move you ahead of all others. It shows the hiring manager that you can lead the work group to the next stage.
- Fits into the culture of the work group and adds value. Hiring mangers are looking for talent, both as a team member and also as a unique individual contributor. As a candidate, look for the areas of contribution where you can provide exclusive value.
- Talk around a question or subject. Hiring managers can easily tell a straight-shooter from a story-teller. A straight-shooter details the situation, the actions taken, and the results achieved. The story-teller focuses on everything except the facts.
- It’s all about “me”, not “we”. A candidate that continually uses the pronouns of I/my/me, and a red flag goes up. The question is, did this candidate do everything by themselves? A team player will always talk about the group result first, then their own individual contribution. Understatements usually illicit more positive questions.
- Overconfidence without substance. We all know what a braggard looks like, so be careful you don’t become one. Confidence with results is the best combination.
- I’m popular with everyone. A person that wants to be liked by everyone may not be the best worker or supervisor. Decisions need to be made based on the situation, not on popularity.
- Non-answers. When asked about your weaknesses, talk about what you’ve done to improve yourself. Don’t say you have no weaknesses. The question about weakness is really asking about your self-awareness. Are you aware of your short-comings and what are you doing to improve?
Understanding what hiring managers are thinking can help you become the candidate of choice.
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