Interviewing Demystified

Jun 22, 2009

For many people on the job market, the Art of Interviewing seems like a mystery. That’s why I decided to demystify it a bit by offering a few clues that will hopefully put the whole experience into perspective. I’ll start by looking at a few common words that hold within them a hidden clues about what it means to join an organization. Keeping these words in mind will help both recruiters and the candidates they are working with.

If you look at the roots for the business terms company and corporation, you find a common theme. “Company” shares its root with the word for companion, while “corporation” essentially means to unify in one body. At its simplest, the message that these words intend to convey is one of coming together. What complicates things is the purpose for which the members come together. For example, in most cases it’s a lot easier to come together for a party than it is to come together for something like jury duty. Now let’s apply this idea to interviewing.

When most people find themselves in the job market, their first thought is to get another job as soon as possible. They’ll think about what it means to be a part of the company later. Little do they know that this mentality is actually doing them a lot more harm than good. Without intending to, they could be sending out a message to recruiters and their potential employers that more or less says, “You are just an obstacle between me and my money.” As recruiters, it’s in our best interest to help candidates put their best foot forward and remind them of what companies are looking for.

What they are forgetting is the fact that the company has needs too. That’s why they hired recruiters. This is important to remind candidates whenever they are brought in for an interview, and especially so in this economy. Companies are not sitting around saying, “Wow! What are we going to do with all this money? Let’s find someone who needs it and give it to them for eight hours of their time a day.” And this takes us to the second word clue — the word hire.

To hire means, “to engage the services of one or more individuals in exchange for compensation.” This means that the hiring company, while conscious that candidates have certain salary requirements for their services, puts the actual service part first. That means that recruiters and candidates should too. When interviewing, one should always keep in mind that the company is speaking with people because they believe that they could offer a potential solution to their challenges.

This understanding is the platform upon which the relationship with a company begins and is sustained. And ultimately, it is the cardinal rule for interview success.

Articles about how to navigate through an interview are in no short supply, but without following this first rule candidates are reducing their chances for success.

The following tips, when combined with the above understanding, will enhance the interview experience for candidates and ideally reduce the interval between interviews and making a placement. Advise candidates to:

  1. Study the website and job description and write down any questions that arise.
  2. During the interview, listen for the needs of the company and be ready to discuss how they can offer a solution.
  3. Ask the question, “What has been your greatest difficulty filling this position?”
  4. Ask for a business card(s) from the person/people interviewing them and try to agree on an appropriate timeframe for following up.
  5. Offer to open their network to the organization.

Helping our candidates to cultivate these habits benefits all parties involved. Recruiters are relationship managers and solutions brokers by trade. So doesn’t it make sense to get potential employees and employers on the same page?

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