My life these past few weeks has consisted of one main theme: interviews. I’m currently hiring for two roles in my department so a large majority of my time has been spent reviewing resumes, testing qualified candidates (we use the PI and Wonderlic), and then interviewing those who show the most promise.

I used to love the process of interviewing, but lately this task has become quite the frustrating pursuit.

Why?

I’m finding that most folks simply don’t know how to interview. Did their college neglect them? Their parents? Do they lack a mentor? Something needs to change.

So, I’ll start the conversation now and provide a few tips that have served me well over the years.

PRE-INTERVIEW

Be responsive. If you get invited to take an assessment, take the 2 minutes and acknowledge the receipt of the invite. It demonstrates that you are listening and that you are invested in the potential opportunity.

Research the company. As a hiring manager, I expect you to know something about the organization you want to join. Your lack of knowledge indicates one thing: your lack of caring.

Show up early. I hate that I even have to make this point but I am always amazed by those folks who are 2-3 minutes or even 10 minutes late to an interview.

INTERVIEW

Be mindful of your body language. Sit up straight. Look at your potential employer in the eyes. Point your toes in their direction. Do all the things necessary to show that you are emotionally invested from a non-verbal perspective.

Know your story. You know where you went to school and where you worked. Make sure you can tell that story succinctly and with confidence.

Share results. I don’t just want to hear about where you worked and what you did, but I want to know how you solved a problem for your employer. Share with me how you added value and achieved results.

Have questions. It always irritates me when I get to the end of an interview and the candidate has zero questions. Nada. Zilch. Surely, there is something you are curious about or there is a piece of subject matter that has yet to be covered. Here are a few starters:

Is there anything you see in my background/qualifications that would not make me a good fit for this opening?

What qualities are you looking for in a person that would make them successful in this role?

What is your management style?

Ask for the job. If you love the company, the opportunity, and your new potential boss, then ask for the job.

POST-INTERVIEW

Remind me of your skills. Send a follow-up email that clearly reminds me of why you are the best fit for the opportunity. (i.e. Dear Scott, thank you for your time. As a quick reminder, here’s where I believe I can add value… Point 1, Point 2, etc.)

Connect with me. I find it funny when a sales candidate applies for a Director of Business Development opportunity and they don’t have a LinkedIn profile. Demonstrate to me that you are connected, have a network, and know how to use basic social media tools.

Say thank you. Don’t forget to send a thank you card via U.S. mail. Trust me. It goes a long way.

Interviews shouldn’t be tough if one would simply prepare.

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