Interviewing Advice for Candidates

Mar 4, 2015

Video Transcript

Welcome to Inside Kimmel. I’m Charlie Kimmel. Today, we’re going to talk about tips for interviewing from the candidate’s perspective. We’re going to look at three phases, the first phase obviously being what to do before the interview. The second phase is what to do during the interview itself. And we’ll wrap up with what to do after the interview.

Before Interview

The first thing we’re going to talk about is what to do prior to the interview. And it’s as simple as this, to be prepared, to do your homework. You’re going to want to learn everything that you can about the company that you’re going to interview with. Look online. See if you can find a business plan. Talk to anybody that you know that might work for the company currently or recently worked for the company. And just as importantly, learn who you’re going to be talking to because you’re interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you.

The second thing that you’re going to want to do is look at your resume and review it from their perspective. There’s always going to be questions that are going to catch you off guard. But if you take ten minutes, maybe even five, and just look at those things in your resume that might cause question and have a prepared answer, and a good honest answer, it will save you a little bit of consternation during the process and impress those people you’re speaking with.

And the third thing that you’re going to want to do is make a list of those things that you’ve done in your career that aren’t on the resume, some classes maybe that you’ve taken or some special projects that you’ve done at your current employer or past employers, what you did while you were in college. They don’t have to be on the resume but to have them prepared and in the front of your mind because you might be asked the question, “What are some other things that you’re proud of?” To be prepared for those situations is always a good idea.

Pre-Interview Checklist

  1. Do your homework! You should know the company and be prepared.
  2. Review your resume from the employer’s perspective and be prepared for any questions that may be asked.
  3. List accomplishments NOT on your resume and be prepared to bring them up.

During Interview

The next thing we’re going to talk about is what you do during the interview itself. This is a natural time to be nervous so know that going in. Realize that you’re going to be a little bit nervous. And when your stomach churns a little bit and your palms get a little bit sweaty, just calm yourself down and realize that this is one of the most stressful things you are going to do, and just enjoy the process. And it’s going to be difficult because one of the things that you want to do is be yourself. Just let your personality shine through. You want them to know who you are as a person, and so to do that, you’re going to need to relax.

But technical ability? You wouldn’t be sitting in the chair in the interview if you didn’t have the technical ability. That should take care of itself. So, the first thing is to consciously be yourself. Share things about yourself, and let them get to know you as a person, because cultural fit is just as, if not more, important than a technical fit.

The second thing that you’re going to want to do is have a business conversation, which sounds a little contradictory to what I just said in letting your personality shine through, but you’re there to learn. You’re there to learn about the company. So what I mean by having a business conversation is ask them about their business plan. Ask them why they’re looking for somebody right now. Ask them about the person who was in this position the last time. Ask them where this position can go and what’s the future for it and who this person might end up working for. And make a list of all these questions, any business ideas, anything in regards to the company. If you happen to know something about the company, good or bad, don’t be afraid to bring it up. They’ll respect you if you bring up something that might be controversial in the past. And they’ll be flattered if you bring up something that is good about the company.

So, remember it’s a business conversation, and you’re interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you. And they’re going to want to know and be impressed with the idea that you want to learn. And you know something about the company, but you want to know the motivations of the company, the motivations of hiring this position, what happened to the person previously, and where the company’s going to go and where you can help them take the company. So, have a business conversation.

The next thing I’ll suggest is probably the most difficult thing, and that is to sell yourself. Most people that I have met that are going into interviews, it’s a nerve-wracking situation. And most people don’t like to talk about themselves and to brag about themselves. They like to have other people do it for them, and especially, I’ve found the successful people have a difficult time doing that. There is an air of humility about them. But this is no time to be humble. You’re selling a product. And that product is you, and you’ve done good work in your career. Now is the time, if any, to be proud of that work. You don’t have to be arrogant or anything of that nature. Just be proud of what you’ve done and let them know all of the successes that you’ve had.

You’re here to get a job. If you don’t impress them and don’t sell them on yourself, you’re not going to be able to make any decisions. You can always turn the job down if you get an offer. But if you don’t get that offer, none of it matters anyways. You’re just wasting your time. So take a little bit of time. Step out of your comfort zone, and sell yourself.

And the last thing I’ll suggest during the interview is to ask for the job. This is very uncomfortable, but it is something that’s critical and could really make the difference. I don’t suggest doing it if you have sincere reservations about some of the people you interviewed with or the company or some of the answers that you got. But if you think there’s a 51% chance or above that this is a job that you’re going to take, it’s a good way to show enthusiasm. It’s also a good way to find out where they stand.

One suggestion that we would have is, “Based on our conversation, is there any reason you wouldn’t hire me?” This does a couple of things. One, it lets them know you’re excited about it, and you want to come to work. And two, it gives you an idea or gives them a reason to ask you a further question and let them know some of your concerns. And then you get a chance to address those concerns right there in the interview. So it shows excitement. It solves some problems. It addresses some issues. And if there was any doubt in their mind, it’s going to put you over the top. So, the last thing is always ask for the job if it’s something that you want to do.

Interview Checklist

  1. Be yourself and relax.
  2. Have a business conversation. You’re interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you!
  3. Sell yourself, it’s okay! You’re here to get a job. You need to sell yourself and impress the employer.
  4. Ask for the job. “Based on our conversation, is there any reason you wouldn’t hire me?

After Interview

The third and final phase obviously is what to do after the interview. And this is really simple but very powerful, and that is to simply say “thank you.” What we’ve found the most successful way to say thank you is through a handwritten thank you note. Now, it gives you an opportunity to address some things that possibly you didn’t get to say during the interview and relay some things that you’ve learned about the company since the interview and another opportunity to ask for the job. Handwritten is always the best. It shows that you’re excited about it. You’re conscientious about it, and you took a little bit of time to do something. And that’s how you’re going to act if you become an employee of this company.

If it needs to be in a email, that’s certainly all right and powerful if you don’t have a chance to do the handwritten note. So, don’t forget, say “thank you” in some some form of written communication.

Post Interview Checklist

  1. Thank you can go a long way. Don’t forget to thank the employer for their time and let them know how excited you are about the job after the interview.

Thanks for watching this episode of Inside Kimmel. I’m Charlie Kimmel, and we hope you learned something.

About the Author

Charlie Kimmel

As President and CEO, Charlie has dedicated his 25+ year career to executive search at Kimmel & Associates. Charlie began his career at Kimmel & Associates in 1990 as a Recruiter. In 1993, he graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he received a BA in History.

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