Interviews…to love or to hate?
When I was under the age of 18, I used to apply for lots of different types of jobs just to have the practice of doing any type of interview. I remember applying for a job at Urban Planet just to have the experience of what retail was looking for. I was so eager to have as much experience and practice before entering the corporate workforce.
I even participated in the famous Junior Achievement and DECA (business club in high school) to practice business skills to prepare for the rest of my life. Somehow I always knew that business would be something I would want to fall into.
However, this blog is not about practicing for interviews, it’s to almost skip that part and tell you the most important things to get out of an interview as a Candidate.
Participating in interviews for jobs based in Canada, South Africa, Cambodia, Switzerland, etc, has taught me that it doesn’t matter which country you are in all of these five points will be super beneficial where ever you live.
Here are the 5 Things that every candidate should get out of an interview in my opinion.
“Know exactly what the job is and the expectations”
This seems like an obvious one, but you would be surprised how many people show up day one without knowing what the expectations are for your first three months. Knowing exactly what your responsibilities are, creates such an ease on your first few weeks; it builds confidence that you are on the right track and that there are no surprises at the end of your probation.
In addition, knowing your expectations, gives you an idea if the job is right for you.
“Ask 40% of the questions”
When I tell people this, they are often surprised and say “you shouldn’t talk that much”. — But before you say no way, understand this is your life, do you really want to work with a manager that you don’t interview as well?
Is he or she going to invest their time into you as much as you into them? It’s important to understand the work environment, culture and as much about the company as you can. You can only learn so much from LinkedIn and other social platforms.
“Don’t get caught up in the Perk and Benefit Pitch”
I had one interview where the HR Manager pitched the fact they have free tea/coffee, cell phone plans, fitness on site 3 times a week, lounge areas, food plans, and more.
Trust me I was drooling over these perks, they sounded magical; what I didn’t understand was this translated to, we want you to work as many hours as possible but don’t worry we offer free snacks to get you through your work day. Now, when I hear this pitch, I don’t get so excited and ask a better question of “What is a typical work week look like and what time do people usually go home”. Some Millennials nowadays want to stay at the office and enjoy these perks; I am more than okay opting out of these, getting paid higher and heading home to my family.
“Summarize why you’re the one for the job”
When ending the interview, I try to close it off on a high note, if I am interested in the career path, I restate my value proposition. Remember, you are most likely not the only one going for this job. Though you don’t want to sound salesy, you want to put a big spot light on your tops skills. I do this in a couple of sentences, starting with key skills, experiences that I can bring to the company and ensure that my skills are directly tied to the job.
“Ensure you get the contact information of everyone in the room”
I found a very cool email from about 10 years ago when I first applied to my first big corporate job. I don’t recall how I got the contact information of everyone in the room, but I wrote an email thanking them all for the opportunity to get to know more about ABC company and that it was a pleasure meeting them. Never walk out of an interview without all contact information, it is important to thank everyone for their time. Don’t write an email that is not honest, if you are not interested in the job, let them know as soon as possible.
I wrote this blog to be a guide for anyone starting out doing interviews, or have had a lot of unsuccessful interviews. The worst thing is to get into a job that you didn’t want in the first place. Take time to be picky with what you want. Not picky with Salary but picky with the type of work you want to do.