For my last couple of articles, I’ve been writing about the things that hiring managers and job seekers have in common. I’ve also provided some tips on how to overcome barriers to finding the right candidate or finding the right job. If you missed previous articles in this series, you can find them here and here.
This time I’d like to focus on the importance of preparation – for both the hiring manager and the job seeker.
Preparing for the interview – hiring manager
The candidate interview is an opportunity to learn more about the job seeker both in terms of their skills and qualifications and whether they are a good fit for the role and organization. All too often hiring managers and others involved in interviewing go into it unprepared.
Good hires result from a well-defined interview process. Each person interviewing the candidate has been trained on how to conduct an interview (what can and cannot be asked) and each interviewer has a specific set of well-thought-out questions to ask. Without a strategy around the questions to be asked, a candidate may be asked the same question over and over and key information that could have resulted from good questions is lost. All candidates for a particular role should be asked the same questions.
Interviewers should be prepped on desired skills and behaviors and should know enough about the organization to answer the candidate’s questions. It’s important to remember that the candidate is evaluating the organization and the people representing it as much as they are being evaluated. Be sure that those who conduct interviews represent the organization well.
Following the interview, the hiring manager and all interviewers should meet to compare notes and share their impressions.
Preparing for the interview – job seeker
Many people find job interviews scary, especially if they haven’t been through one in a while. The key to reducing the amount of angst is preparation.
As the job seeker, be sure you are thoroughly familiar with the job requirements and have researched the company/organization. At the very least you should know the information available on their website.
Be prepared to share how your skills/experience map to the qualifications for the role. Spend some time thinking about specific examples of past achievements, how you’ve handled various situations, unique value you’ve provided to your current/previous organizations, etc., so you will be prepared for behavioral interview questions. Use the easy-to-remember SAR model – what was the Situation, what Action did you take, what were the Results. Also, be sure to prepare some good questions to ask your interviewers.
Finally, practice! Prepare some questions you think you might be asked and have a friend or family member do a mock interview with you. The more you practice the less nervous you will be.
Next time I’ll talk about the importance of a good first impression and how to make one!
Looking for some help in preparing for interviews? Check out my Career Coaching Services – Landing Your Dream Job package.