Ever go to the first interview and wish this is the one. This is the one that lands the job so you never have to interview again. I felt that way. Did it work out that way for me? Rarely. Fortunately, I’ve learned a few tips which helped me and will help you.
The Value of Practice
The wonderful outplacement firm, Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), tells their clients, create an A list of companies and a B list of companies. LHH recommends their clients pursue interviews with the B list to get practice. Once they feel comfortable interviewing, LHH tells them to pursue the A list.
I was an LHH client. I did not do that. I can say I got interviews and the more interviews I had the more comfortable I became.
1.) The More You Interview, the Better You Get.
I once interviewed only to realize there was a “pre-identified candidate”. The department head interrupting us to ask a direct report a question and the fact there was no discussion of him interviewing me was a dead give away.
His direct reports interviewed me, going through the motions the law required. Even though the interview wasn’t what I hoped for, because I went through practically everything I would do in a normal interview, the practice was still good for me.
At another time, I spoke with a hiring manager about one of her opportunities. I shared how I heard there was a “pre-identified candidate”. In so many words, she said, yes this is true, however tell me what you have to offer. If you have the hiring manager’s ear, share what you have to offer even if there is a “pre-identified candidate”. You never know, you might be better than him.
2.) If You Go Through A Full Interview and Give Your All, Pre-Identified Candidate Interviews Are Still Good Practice.
3.) Even When There’s a Pre-Identified Candidate, Sometimes The Hiring Manager Wants To Hear What You’d Bring to Her Department.
Friend at the Firm
A former co-worker and friend worked for a great company. During the Great Recession he faced some lean times. He reached out to me for a LinkedIn recommendation. Now I was in lean times and he was more than happy to put in a good word with the hiring manager.
This interview was interesting because of what happened and what didn’t happen. After applying, I received an automated rejection email the morning of my interview.
However, it didn’t matter because my friend had advocated for me. I interviewed in the afternoon and was a top candidate for a couple months.
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), the system which sends those automated rejection emails, reject 75 to 90% of all applicants, that’s why its critical you reach out to friends or develop contacts who can advocate for you at their employers.
4.) A Friend or Referral at Your Desired Employer Beats The Candidate Elimination System (ATS) Every Time.
Calling the Hiring Manager
I once discovered a great position and knew I had to stand out if I was to have a chance. I called the hiring manager. I was lucky, I got her. I expressed my interest. I sensed she pulled up my resume as we were speaking. It was a short call but it was enough to make me top of mind.
This led to three interviews, an HR screening, an interview with her assistant and finally with her. While I didn’t have what they needed, I made a great deal of progress by calling her directly.
Reaching the hiring manager can be difficult. Call every 20 minutes, three times in an hour, then stop. Don’t call, let it go to vm and then call again, it might irritate her. Sometimes calling first thing, anywhere from 5 to 7:30 will sometimes get them to pick up. Just know what you’re going to say.
5.) Calling the Hiring Manager, When You Know What You’re Going To Say, Can Land You An Interview.
I consider phone interviews a gift from God. When I have a phone interview, I lay out every piece of information I want to speak about or may need to speak about – My resume, achievement stories, information about the employer and why I want to work for the employer. This strategy makes it easy to shine. Its hard to be at a loss for words when all of the information is laying out in front of you.
The last time I had a phone interview, I did not get the role, however because of the exposure I received in the phone interview I was called back to interview for another position. I got the position! I’ve been there more than 3 years and I’m very happy there.
6.) Don’t Treat a Phone Interview Like a Face to Face, Lay Out Every Piece of Information You May Need, So You Shine.
If We’re Not Connected, I’d Love To Connect – https://www.linkedin.com/in/clarkfinnical/
Image Credit: Where Is Your Path Taking You? https://unsplash.com/@colinaphotos – Colin Abbey – Miller Landing Road, Tallahassee, FL