When we hosted a webinar with HRM Innovations about selecting talent, I kept feeling nostalgia of previous interviews I have conducted and attended (cue cringing). Until recently, I had only been on one side of the table, which was not my favorite thing.
But I always thought it would be so much easier interviewing people than it would be to get interviewed. However, I’ll be the first one to tell you, both sides of the table can insight fear and be undesirable – but they shouldn’t! Here are some things I have picked up going to and conducting interviews.
You’re both representing a brand
The interviewer is representing the company. They are the embodiment of what the company’s values, personality, culture and goals are. After meeting you, why does the candidate want to work for your company even more? Let your company’s goals and brand guide how you interact with the person sitting across from you.
The interviewee is pitching the brand of, well, them. What’s so great about you? Why would you be a good fit? The goal is to essentially bring your resume to life. It’s just a piece of paper; it doesn’t mean anything until you animate it. After a couple less than stellar interviews straight out of college, I quickly realized I am not perfect for every job or every company and that is totally okay. At the end of the day, all I could do was be myself and have a conversation about my past, present and future goals.
Research is mutual
Just as the interviewee needs to research the company and position, the interviewer has to do the same. It doesn’t matter which person you are in the interview, there’s nothing worse than the feeling of going into an interview unprepared. The more both parties have researched, the easier it is for both parties to feel comfortable.
My suggestions for the IE are:
- You can never know enough about the company. Study their website, read their blogs, try to find articles about them – this immediately cements how serious you are about the position.
- Research their competitors; try to figure out what this company’s competitive advantage is.
- Look up people who are currently working there. What are they like? Are there a lot of people in the department you’re interviewing for?
Suggestions on the IR side:
- This may be obvious but make sure you know the resume like the back of your hand.
- Check them out online.
- what/who do they follow on social media
- what do they post on social media
- doing this helps you get a preview of the person you’re meeting
- Look up the companies they’ve previously worked for. Are there transferrable skills or relevant industry experience?
I remember when I first started interviewing for full time positions. I was always uncomfortable and after each one, I replayed the whole thing in my head over and over, concentrating on the most miniscule details I could remember. Did I touch my hair too much or not enough? Did I bite my nails? Did I have a big piece of black bean in my teeth from that breakfast burrito? (I didn’t, shout out to flossers)
Both parties have to be comfortable but the candidate generally has more of an issue than the interviewer. The interviewer should value making the other person comfortable. A more comfortable candidate ensures responses are better and a better insight into who the person is.
Open letter to candidates, don’t over think the interview! It’s good to prepared but worrying about every little thing can drive a person mad. Interviews have upsides and downsides on both sides of the table. Use these tips to make sure that you’re prepared no matter what side of the table you end up on.
Want to learn more about how to find and select the best talent? Be sure to watch (and rewatch) the webinar we did with HRM Innovations!
Also, check out this awesome infographic made by Career Geek!