Like anyone, I’ve interviewed for multiple jobs in my career. Some successfully, some unsuccessfully. I’ve also been in the position of interviewer many times. I do consider myself a good interviewee, and a good interviewer. But let me tell you, from the position of an interviewer, it amazes me how badly some people interview, and how many people miss the basics of interviewing.
So here you have it, from this week’s interviews alone. A new list of “don’ts”:
- Don’t say, “I can’t think of any” when given the chance to ask questions. Have a list of prepared questions about the company, the position, etc. The candidates I interviewed this week would have shared a supervisor with me, and only one of them asked me about his style or what it was like to work for him. This should be the easiest question to ask!
- Don’t sell yourself short! If you believe you deserve this job, then deserve it. Walk in and own it. And do that all the way through the process. One of this week’s candidates wrote in her handwritten thank you note (and I quote), “but I understand if you go in a different direction.” What? Well, thanks, honey, because we are going in a different direction.
- Don’t be a sad panda. I work in a field where a lot of people are beaten down and overworked. Especially in small shop nonprofit organizations, working 90 hours a week with the weight of the world on your shoulders can be immensely draining, but don’t let it show in your interview. If you’re looking for a job, it’s likely you’re not happy in your current one. And as much as that’s true, you can’t let the person across the table see your fear or sadness in your current situation.
- Research, research, research! Most companies have incredibly detailed websites. Often you can find lists of clients, projects, etc. You can find out a lot about the company before you even get to the interview. You have to research the company you’re interviewing with. Which clients have they landed lately? Do they have new initiatives being publicized online or in news media? Are the people you’re interviewing with new or have they been there a long time? Use Google, use LinkedIn, use Glassdoor.com. But research is key!
Just a few tips, but they will be tremendously valuable if you use them. Set yourself apart by interviewing smart (gosh, that rhymes. Time to write a book???)