by Mike Barefoot
Senior Account Executive at Red Zone Resources Staffing & Recruitment
Why Are Interviews Important?
Interviews are critical because it's your prolonged "elevator speech" to sell yourself as a potential team member to an organization looking to add your skill sets to their repertoire. A joke in the staffing industry is that it isn't the most qualified person that gets the job but the person that interviews the best. I've had recruiters bet lunches on their candidates based on how the resume looks and, because of that, I’ve had my share of free lunches. In the end, hiring manager interview feedback often reflects that the person with the best resume was not the the candidate they found most charismatic or the best fit with the culture or work dynamic of their office or team. Often the person who articulates their skills and experiences the best, above and beyond what is on the resume, gets the offer.
3 Things You Must Know
Three points that every candidate should familiarize himself with before an interview are:
When it comes to the third point, everyone can give an answer for the things they're good at but few can deliver the tough answers across a conference table regarding areas they're weaker in. When I'm meeting a prospective candidate at a client site before an interview, I always emphasize maximizing the positives and minimizing the negatives. I've had candidates tell me all the things they couldn't do and how they don't want to embellish or lie to the client. My general advice to the candidate is if you want the job, don't talk your way out of one.
Research the Interviewers
When going into an interview, familiarize yourself with the interview team just like a coach or player preparing for a big game. Find out who you're talking to by saying their names over and over. It's been proven that people love to hear their name. Also, take the time to Google that person or look them up in LinkedIn to find out what his/her role is, that person' s history and if you have common ground or may know some of the same people. If you're good friends with someone connected to a person on the interview team it can be like an invisible membership into a fraternity. Relationships matter.
What to Wear
There is hardly any such thing as being over dressed for an interview, unless you show up in a tuxedo. Even for employers who tout a “casual dress code,” err on the side of caution with your interview attire. A conservative blue, black or gray suit with matching shoes, belt and tie to accent, work for a man, and a business suit or nice dress for a woman never hurts your chances. You can get more casual after you secure the job.
How to Prepare
A way to increase your success with job interviews is to have a friend that you feel can properly critique you use commonly asked questions to put you through a mock interview. They can also come up with a few questions of their own to throw in some unexpected wrinkles and then give you a post-practice interview review. Practice makes perfect and another staffing axiom is that it's a job getting a job. People often think they have to be perfect in applying or interviewing in this competitive economy to landing a job and I let candidates know that no one is perfect, but how you handle a miscue can be the delineating factor between securing a job or game over.