How To Rethink Job Interviews And Get Hired To Do Anything.
I’ve been to so many interviews in the last few months that I reckon I’ve broken a world record. I’m just not going to settle for mediocre or something that doesn’t touch on my passions.
There needs to be sales, leadership or social media in my next career or I’m saying no — ideally all three would be nice.
By doing so many interviews, I’ve become a somewhat seasoned veteran — if I do say so myself.
Here’s how to completely rethink job interviews:
Tell people what you want.
Once you get past the “This is what the job is and here’s what we’re looking for” part of the interview, it’s time to take control.
Without being rude, tell the company what you want. Tell them what made you look for a new career and tell them the things you’re trying to avoid. Keep a positive spin on it otherwise you’ll come across as negative which no one hires for.
Once you’ve mentioned your list of things you’d ideally like, remember that you can’t have them all.
Use in-between time.
Okay, this one is a pro tip that I use a lot which I learned from Simon Sinek. Every interview you attend will probably have some time beforehand where you have to wait.
Instead of looking at your not so smartphone, use the in-between time to get an idea of the company.
One of the most challenging things about a career change is the unknown. You do maybe 2–3 interviews, but that doesn’t tell you a hell of a lot.
When reception lets me through the door, I’m asking them questions.
“How’s your day?”
“What’s the area around the office like?”
“What’s something cool you’re doing right now?”
Start conversations as people walk past you. I also start conversations in lifts as well. There’s no way to escape the conversation and it’s a few minutes where you can ask that burning question to an unsuspecting employee who doesn’t know you’re there for a job interview.
Make conversation and try to find out things that you can’t Google. When you finally are asked to come to the meeting room, reference what you’ve learned.
Mention the names as well. All of this shows your interest and your unique ability to build relationships.
Bargain with time.
Throughout the job interview process, I’ve had to bargain on a few things. This is not a one-sided battle though.
In the new world of hiring, candidates have a lot more power — especially if you are skilled in leadership, emotional intelligence, sales or software.
All of us want time for either family, a side hustle or a hobby. Ask about doing different work hours to the norm.
See if you can get rewarded not with monetary bonuses but with time. Find out early on what the time requirements are and see if they’re flexible.
Time is the one thing you should negotiate on firmly and assertively. There’s limited amounts of time. Time is a fantastic motivation to overachieve in any career so you can get empty space to fill with whatever you want.
Try the “How about this?” line.
For too long, people have forgotten that a job interview and subsequent hire are a negotiation.
The best tactic to move the conversation in this direction is to add the “How about this?” line in early on.
“How about this?” is a trigger for “Can we negotiate on this bit of detail?”
It’s an open-ended line and typically goes down well if said with respect.
Leave silence after the interviewer asks a question.
It’s all too easy in an interview to answer a question too quickly without thinking about the answer properly. What shows finesse is when you leave silence after the question.
Show that you’re thinking about the question. It will also show you care too. Lame responses that come straight out of your mouth will not get you far.
I’ve been known to do this often and it’s a habit I’ve decided to kick. We’re all afraid of silence but we shouldn’t be.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a second to clear your head and find the best answer that comes from an experience you’ve encountered before.
Use real examples.
All of the questions you’re being asked should be followed by examples. A pro tip is to use stories.
Examples help the interviewer see how you think about a problem and allow you to insert in companies you may have worked with, cool people you’ve met in your career and any highlights they should know about which on their own, might sound too much like blatant bragging and self-promotion.
In my interviews, I talk about real projects I’ve worked on. I mention the people that were part of these projects and the leadership skills that were displayed.
Talk a lot about the failures.
Interviewers get a lot of the sugar-coated BS, so you want to avoid that. Show you’re authentic and real by talking about some failures.
Don’t focus too much on the failure itself (might make you look incompetent) but focus on what you learned from it.
Show new revenue streams you found.
Show new features you thought of.
Show how you turned a business relationship around.
Failures contain all of this good stuff — talk about them!
Find out the process for meetings.
Do they have lots of meetings?
How are meetings run?
Knowing the procedure for meetings in companies tells you so much. Many companies have way too many meeting or insist on death by PowerPoint.
Progressive companies typically have more infrequent meetings that focus on letting everybody have a go at speaking.
Ask about culture.
The biggest killer of your career dreams is other people. Don’t be afraid to ask about the culture.
Do work colleagues socialize?
What hours do they work?
Do people work from home?
Can I see the office space?
Do many people come in and out?
“Culture is like the heartbeat of a company. You want to be in sync with that beat”
Share a fear.
I normally choose to talk about my prior fears of public speaking and flying as a good place to start. It allows me to be vulnerable and connect with the interviewer at a deeper level.
The cool thing about sharing fears is that the interviewer will often start to do the same.
“In a recent interview, I told the interviewer about how I never used to be able to fly and she shared that her husband was the same. We had instant rapport”
Sharing fears demonstrates you’re open to talking about anything they might want to know. Only making yourself look good or sharing the success stories feels fake. Fake won’t win you the dream career you’ve been searching for.
Offer a resignation letter on the first day.
There’s nothing better than someone who backs themselves.
Cap the downside for your potential new employer and let them know that they can fire you at any stage if they don’t like the results you’re producing.
Tell them you’ll write out your resignation letter in advance and give it to them, so they have an easy exit if required.
Tell them you’ve got a few companies interested.
Perception is everything. Showing that the market wants you is how you tip the negotiation slightly in your favor. Let them know you are keen but need an answer.
There’s nothing worse than a recruitment process that drags out which prevents you from making a decision that could change your life.
Whatever you do, don’t be a smart ass about it.
Before walking through the interview door, work your face off the night before to understand the company.
It’s likely during the interview that they will reference their customers or wins they’ve had. You want to know that info inside and out.
I saw a company last week. They had hired ten new people recently, had two significant changes to their board, started a new line of products and outgrown their office. I mentioned all of that and the interviewer was impressed.
Just saying you love the company is not enough. Prove it to them! Show them you know something about what they do. That’s how you cut through the noise.
The biggest part you need to rethink?
Rethinking job interviews requires one key understanding:
Both sides need to convince each other to move forward.
For so long, the company doing the hiring has had the power. This is because the business culture is to try and fit in or meet someone’s job description and experience threshold.
Screw all of that. Hiring is like any business decision: it’s a negotiation. If you’re losing in job interviews, then it’s probably because you don’t understand this concept.
If it’s what you want, show them!
Too often people lose in job interviews because they don’t show a single ounce of emotion or passion for the role.
Let the interviewer know how much you love the company or the role. Let them see who you really are and everything you’ve gone through to get where you are today. Demonstrate your growth and the massive trajectory you’re on.
That’s how you get them excited. That’s how you get hired to do anything.
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