Friday, October 5, 2012

9 Things You Wish Job Candidates Knew

Sure, you'll consider their qualifications. But admit it: This is what you're really looking for during interviews.

Job candidates say a lot during an interview. As the interviewer, so do you.
But there's a lot you wish you could say to job candidates well before the interview ever takes place:

1. I want you to be likable.
Obvious, sure, but also critical. I want to work with people I like and who like me.
So I want you to smile. I want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship--and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before).
A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond.
You may have solid qualifications, but if I don't think I'll enjoy working with you, I'm probably not going to hire you.
Life is too short.

2. I'm taken aback when you say you want the job right away.
Oh, I do want you to want the job--but not before you really know what the job entails. I may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you... so hang in there.
No matter how much research you've done, you can't know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

3. I want you to stand out....
A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don't recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)
The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.
So when I meet with staff to discuss potential candidates I might initially refer to someone as, "the guy with the handcuff-ready stainless steel briefcase," or "the woman who does triathlons," or "the guy who grew up in Romania."
In short, I may remember you by "hooks"--whether flattering or unflattering--so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career.
Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time, or the huge sale you made.
Instead of letting me choose, give me one or two notable ways to remember you.

4. ...But not for being negative.
There's no way I can remember everything you say. But I will remember sound bites, especially negative ones.
Some candidates complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, their customers.
So if, for example, you hate being micro-managed, instead say you're eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you're desperate to to escape your old job.
And keep in mind I'm well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I'm getting the best possible version of "you." So if you whine and complain and grumble now... I know you'll be a total downer to be around in a few months.

Tips 5-9 and Complete Inc. Article

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