Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview tips for the rest of us.....

Ok, so loyal readers will know that most of my interview tips focus on engineering type roles. Well, I can’t code....not a lick. So, I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about some interview tips for the rest of us. Those non-technical masses who must prepare a little differently for an interview. Here you go, how to prepare for that non-technical role you are dying to get!

1) Study - Take time to study the company. What’s the business model? How are they doing? Any current issues that might impact your decision? You should know all this stuff. Take some notes, print some articles and bring them with you. Why? Well, you want to be able to have an intelligent conversation with your interviewers. If someone asks you how you feel about better know what XYZ is!

2) Cliff Notes are for smart people - Remember Cliff Notes from High School? Everyone always associated them with slackers and cheaters? Well....maybe, but not this time. You are going to create your own cheat sheet of notes to bring to the interview. Trust me, I do it for any interview and look at is as a must have when it comes to interviews. What is on this list? Examples of things from your work for example:

- A successful project you’ve worked on
- An example of your leadership skills
- A time you had to learn something new
- Data and more data (sales quotas, hiring goals, etc)

Basically, anything you want to make sure you stress should be on this sheet....the worst thing you can do is leave an interview saying “I wish I told them about....”

3) Know your audience - If you know who you are meeting with (sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t) take a few minutes to do some Google searches (ahem, shameless plug) and check them out on LinkedIn. Why? Well, you don’t want to say something stupid or offensive just because you didn’t do your homework. True story: I was once asked how I felt about hiring people from 2nd tier schools. I went on the explain how I believe people go to school for different reasons and that you can find diamonds in the rough if you look hard enough at these schools. Good answer on my part, this person attended a lesser known school and agreed with me. You’ll thank me for this tip during your next interview.

4) Who do you know? - Tap your network for a few insider tips. Now you may not have any contacts and that’s fine but if you have someone on the inside just spending a few minutes with them can be invaluable before your interview. Another true story: I had coffee this morning with a person interviewing for a role with Google. Great guy, mutual former colleague made the connection for us. Could I help him prepare for the interview? Absolutely not, but I could share some insights on what I love about the company as well as give him 20 minutes to soak in the atmosphere and have a little coffee. I’m guessing he felt much better when the interview started than he would have without our short chat.

5) Relax - Take a deep breath and go rock the interview. That’s the biggest and best tip I can give you. Seriously, I meet a lot of people and they are so nervous the interview is over before it begins. If you aren’t relaxed and comfortable you’ll have a hard time explaining why you are a great fit for the role. So....chill out, you’ll be fine.

That’s it, I hope these help....if you have any other tips you’d like to add I’ve love to hear them. Until next time, happy hunting!

For anyone looking for more tips/tricks you can also try this book!

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I'm also in recruiting but these
    looking-at-it-from-the-other-side articles really reminds me of the important things in hiring.
    So easy to forget when you are on the recruiter side.
    Thank you!