A hiring manager’s mind is a study in multitasking. From the moment you sit for an interview, she’s assessing everything about the interaction. Are you making eye contact? Smiling? Is your handshake firm and confident or timid and weak? Did you dress appropriately for the job? (Here’s a hint: The suit that plays well at a private equity firm will seem rather out of place at a startup.) All of these impressions happen instantaneously, and each one impacts your chance of landing the job. Interviewers can also tell pretty quickly whether you’ve done your homework on the company and how committed you are to working there. If you want to nail an interview, apply this four-step approach to wowing the hiring manager.
1. Pre-interview PreparationIt goes without saying that you need to research the company – and a cursory glance at its website won’t suffice. When interviewing with a startup, check out Crunchbase and TechCrunch for information on its funding rounds and years. Those sites may also list the startup’s competitors, which is helpful for fully versing yourself in the industry. If you’re applying to a private firm, read through different sections of its site and familiarize yourself with its clients and major projects. Public companies are obligated to publish their earnings reports, so make sure you read the most recent one before an interview.
Keep tabs on any media mentions of the business so you can use those as talking points to show you’re invested in the brand.Keep tabs on any media mentions of the business so you can use those as talking points to show you’re invested in the brand. And whatever the type of organization, learn who’s on the management team and where they’ve worked before. You may realize you have a shared connection, and you can use that relationship to establish rapport.
2. PracticeYou never want to go into an interview without rehearsing what you’re going to say. BVOH schedules run-throughs with our candidates so we can give them background on the position and review the types of questions they’ll likely be asked. We brief them on whether the company is doing a new system implementation or working on another project that they should bring up during the interview, and we advise them on tailoring their responses to the organization. Most importantly, we help them articulate why they’re interested in a particular company and how they can hit the ground running if they’re hired. This kind of preparedness distinguishes great applicants from the herd.
3. The InterviewConveying your passion and qualifications is essential – but so is listening. Interviewers don’t appreciate when candidates visibly check out or talk over them to make a point. Answer questions directly and repeat some of the hiring manager’s own wording to show that you’re paying attention. When it’s your turn to ask questions, don’t rattle off a stale, generic list just for the sake of having something to say. Use the opportunity to delve deeper into topics that got brushed over during the interview. We recommend wrapping up by asking what types of projects you might be assigned so you can get a full picture of what the job entails. This is a great way to find out what a hiring manager actually prioritizes versus what was in the general job description.
End the interview the way you began, with good eye contact, a friendly demeanor, and a firm handshake.Finally, it never hurts to ask about the next steps in the interview process. This reinforces your interest in the position which hiring managers are always keen to see. End the interview the way you began it, with good eye contact, a friendly demeanor, and a firm handshake.
4. Follow-UpMake sure you ask the hiring manager for her card or email address before leaving the interview so you can send a thank you note. Send this no later than 24 hours after the interview, and keep it short and sweet. Don’t turn it into a list of five reasons why you want the job and would be great at it. Just let her know that you’re looking forward to hearing from her and that you appreciate her time.
You do not want your first email communication with a hiring manager to include typos and grammatical errors, so proofread before you hit send.And above all things – use spellcheck! It’s amazing how many people send embarrassing emails to their potential employers because they skip this simple step. You do not want your first email communication with a hiring manager to include typos and grammatical errors, so proofread before you hit send. So much of acing an interview comes down to preparation and common sense. Dressing appropriately, researching the company, and engaging the interviewer are key elements of winning the job, and they’re all within your control. Bringing your “A” game and knowing how you fit into the organization will take you far when trying to land a new job.
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