I’ve discovered that many extremely experienced & smart people still commit common interviewing faux paxs. Here’s some things I’ve learned over the years:
- ALWAYS GET REFERRALS
The best roles come from referrals. Never rely on job postings. Asking people to refer you should be the minimum, however people referring you for jobs unsolicited are the best. Your professional network is one of your most important career tools.
[Sidenote: Incidentally, the same holds true for buying a home. Never rely on the public listings or the MLS. The best home buying opportunities are the ones your real estate agent gets you before they are publicly listed.]
- REQUIREMENTS = SUGGESTIONS
Never choose not to apply for a position because you don’t think you have all the job requirements listed. No one does.
- EXPERIENCE = FOOT IN THE DOOR
Your skills & experience for a role is only 50% of the hiring criteria. Interviews are granted based on key skills & experience but after that, it’s everything else that matters.
- PROFESSIONALITY + PREPARATION
Soft skills, research & networking can fill a lot of holes in one’s resume. Use your network to learn as much about the position, the team, the company & especially, the hiring manager.
- NEVER STOP INTERVIEWING
Even if you get passed up for job #1, keep in mind that the hiring team may give you a referral for job #2. (See bullet 1 about referrals)
[Sidenote: This is how I got my current role. I was referred by the San Francisco office to the Los Angeles office for another role. I’ve now been here 27 years.]
- IT’S NEVER “JUST BUSINESS”
Careers are extremely personal. For me, the individual that coined the phrase, “It’s just business,” isn’t the kind of teammate I’d want to work with.
- INTERVIEWING IS A 2-WAY STREAK
They’re not just interviewing you: You’re interviewing them. Check to make sure the manager is strong & supportive, the team is made of good people, the company is ethical & the role is as advertised.
- BEWARE RED FLAGS
If you’re frustrated because of a poor interviewing process/experience, is this honestly a role you want? You’re giving them your time & potentially your talent – they should respect that.
- CAREFULLY CRAFT YOUR RESUME
Resumes matter. If you’re fortunate enough to have a recruiter or hiring manager actually check your resume, know that resumes tell a lot about a candidate beyond skills & experience. For example:
- Can they communicate effectively & concisely?
- Did they research what we’re looking for & have they made it a point to highlight that in their experience?
- Do they want to hop to another job every year & if so, are they worth onboarding?
- Can they be honest about their skills? How will their skills hold up upon direct questioning?
- Are they a details person or a big picture person?