Ten Ways To Guarantee Your Interviewer Won’t Forget You
Via Forbes : The biggest problem job-seekers face after an initial job interview is the risk of being forgotten. Hiring managers have a lot on their minds. They can easily forget your conversation with them. They may have met seven to ten job candidates or more, sometimes in back-to-back interviews.
The candidates run together in the manager’s mind, especially if the interviews take place within a short time frame. You may be dropped out of the running merely because the manager couldn’t quite bring you or your conversation back to mind when the time came to schedule second interviews for a few people and send everybody else a “no thank you” message.
That’s a shame, but it happens every day. If you want the job, you can’t afford to just get through the interview. You have to dig into a meaty topic that the manager cares about. If you pay attention, you’ll be able to tell whether your hiring manager — the person who will be your boss in the new job — is tuned into your conversation, or somewhere else entirely.
Hiring managers, like HR people and recruiters, tend to interview a lot of people. They can get good at faking being present while actually being a million miles away in their minds. You could be running down your career history, and your manager may be smiling at you with a fake plastic smile and thinking “If I can get out of here by five-thirty I can get to the dry cleaner before they close.”
That’s bad for you! If your hiring manager is not tuned in and highly interested in your conversation during the job interview, he or she will have a hard time remembering you tomorrow. It isn’t enough simply to answer the manager’s questions acceptably. You have to keep your hiring manager actively in the conversation.
Here are ten ways to do that.
Ten Ways to Make Sure Your Hiring Manager Won’t Forget You
- Get off the script right away, even before you sit down in the chair in your manager’s office or a conference room. Change the frame for the conversation by asking a simple question, perhaps based on something you read or heard about the organization, like “Are you excited about the move to your downtown location?” Your hiring manager has held or is going to hold several or even a large number of interviews. Be human on yours!
- When you’re asked an open-ended question like “Tell me about yourself!” use that opening as a way to get your manager off the script. Here’s how to use the question “Tell me about yourself!” to spin the table and get your manager talking about his or her biggest problem!
- Use stories to bring your career history to life. Even when you’re asked a question that doesn’t specifically request a story (a la “Can you tell me about a time when you used Excel to create a report?”) you can still give a story-type answer. When your manager asks you “What did you like best about your job at the Herald-Tribune?” you can say “Here’s what I loved about that job – this kind of situation. One night I was working on a story and the phone rang…”
- Make the interview about your hiring manager and his or her problem. It is not primarily a conversation about you. It’s about your ability to understand what the hiring manager needs most — the same way any consultant would probe and listen carefully to understand a new client’s problems — and your ability to make clear your understanding of your manager’s needs. Your manager can’t hear what you are trying to tell him or her until the manager feels heard!
- When you answer an interview question, turn it back and ask a follow-up question of your manager. If you’ve just answered the question “Which versions of this software application have you used?” and you list the versions you know, follow up with “How do you use that application here?”
- Keep in mind that when your manager is talking, he or she is engaged. When you are talking, even the most sympathetic listener is likely to be less engaged. Keep your manager talking by asking questions about what’s working and what isn’t working in the department.
- When your manager is describing the work you’ll be performing in the job, resist the urge to say “I’ve done that!” or “I can do that.” It may be true, but anybody can say those things and they aren’t credible. You have to get a clear sense of the context in which your skills will be put to use in order to assure your manager that you understand his or her situation well. For instance, if the manager says “We’re getting into social media for membership marketing purposes” your best bet is not to blurt out “I’ve been using social media for years!” or “I’m an expert in membership marketing.” Anybody could say those things. Your intelligent questions about how and why the organization uses social media for membership marketing, what’s working so far and what isn’t working and other relevant topics will boost your credibility far more than your statements about your own qualifications will.
- Keep in mind that your manager is a human being, and that people get tired. It’s not a bad thing if your manager gets Interview Fatigue and starts rambling about other topics. You aren’t scoring points when you’re droning on about your suitability for the job, but when you are listening and empathizing with your possible next boss, you are building glue. Don’t let your manager come to the end of his or her sentence and then launch back into your spiel. In a good job interview, you don’t have a sales pitch to deliver. You have thoughtful, smart questions to ask your manager about his or her situation and you’ve got powerful Dragon-Slaying stories to share. That’s all you need!
- The best job interviews — and the most memorable ones to everybody in the room — are human conversations rather than oral exams. We’ve all been trained to give quick, clipped answers to interview questions the same way we gave quick, clipped answers to the teacher in school, but showing up to an interview ready to answer questions “correctly” is the worst way to make a lasting impression. Every chance you get, make the conversation human!
- Finally, remember that you don’t have to please or impress anybody to get a job that deserves you. Your goal in a job interview is not to be the most docile applicant in the bunch, but to show up as yourself and speak with your own voice. Only the people who get you, deserve you after all!
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