First, congratulations are in order. It can be tough to get an interview! So what do you do now? Well, it depends on the type of interview that you get. Let’s look at a couple types of interviews and some things that can push you to the top of the candidates that are interviewing for the same role.
You get a phone screen with the recruiter/someone in HR:
- This one is sometimes overlooked, but can be a quick deal breaker. You must do your due diligence on the company and the role. This is where you want to make sure you know what the company does, goals, growth plans, recent mergers, relevant news on the company.
- Study the role and the description. If this is a stretch role for you, you need to have talking points as to why it makes sense that you are qualified to take on this role.
- If this is a growth role, you need to clearly articulate what you have done that brings you to the place you are today and why that experience makes you qualified for the role.
- Have this info ready and at hand to reference on the phone.
Interview with the hiring manager (phone or in-person):
- The same above applies, but you really need to add a couple things.
- Research the hiring manager on LinkedIn or other publications that they are referenced in.
- Note: You aren’t stalking them, you are looking for similarities. Did you attend the same university? Do you both enjoy hiking?
- Even if you both volunteer with the Humane Society, you now have talking points of similarities that you can bring up during the small talk part of the interview, or you can bring those similarities up strategically when they ask you if you have questions. (Just be respectful with this information and be sure to mention where you saw it, e.x. LinkedIn profile)
- If you are on the phone, have all this info pulled up in front of you so you can reference it quickly on your laptop/tablet.
- In person, you need to make sure you have studied this info beforehand, so you can have it at the ready as you need the info.
Panel interview with hiring manager, peers, and other leaders:
- Get the names of the people you will be interviewing with before so you can do the above quick research
- During your interview, determine who is leading the interview and make sure you are keeping eye contact with them and engaging them in the interview.
- Whatever you do, don’t answer one person’s question and be focusing on someone else. So, if a peer asks you a question, don’t focus on the hiring manager and engage with them in your response. (This says you don’t care much about the team.)
- When it is time for you to ask them questions, you need to engage with everyone on the panel if possible. Granted, if you are in front of 10 people, that isn’t quite possible to ask each of them direct questions, but you can certainly try to keep as many of them engaged as possible.
- You can ask a question of a group of them on the panel. Let’s say you have 3 peers and the hiring manager and his/her boss interviewing you. You can ask the peers a question, something like, “I know I will be working with the 3 of you, can you help me understand how you would like me to interact with you?” Or, “I would like to ask the 3 of you, how does the team interact and engage on a project together?” These allow them to decide who is going to talk and they can all chime in as they see fit.
Interview with a senior level executive who has to approve the hire:
- Again, LinkedIn and google searching for this person.
- This usually happens after some of the above interviews have already happened, so you should be doing quite a bit more research on the role and the company as a whole. Get more in-depth with every interview.
- At this stage, you really need to have a good understanding of what the company is doing and where they are going. Vision, mission, and maybe even financials if they are public to give you an overall picture of how the company is doing. You also need to call in “favors” of those that you know that work there or know the person you are interviewing with.
Companies want to hire people that are passionate about the company and the role. So, if you want to make sure you are at the top of the candidate list for the job, prepare, prepare, prepare and practice.
Want more information on landing your next job? Check out my other blogs here.