Posted on 11 January 2012.
By: J. Mason
Online Career Tips Staff
This morning, while drinking my coffee, I came across this great post on the “10 Secrets of a Hiring Manager” from U.S. News via Yahoo! Finance. The writer, Alison Green, makes some great points about what you don’t hear and see behind the scenes of an interview. One that caught my eye was the first point about the “interviewer not being very good at interviewing.” This used to be a secret to me, until I got a taste for it firsthand.
At a recent position I got the opportunity to sit in on an interview with my manager, and a couple other folks. I had been out of college for a couple years, so my experience with interviewing was limited to post-college interviews as well as my internship. Before it started I got no coaching, all I knew was the position we would be hiring for and the skills we needed. I was nervous, perhaps more nervous than the nice lady I had to interview. Throughout the process I didn’t speak up until the end, and that’s when I peppered her with a bunch of questions. At the time I didn’t know that it was inappropriate, but it worked out since she was able to think quick on her feet and was later hired.
The point here is you’re more than likely more prepared than those sitting across the table from you. Since my first experience I’ve been thrown last minute into a couple more interviews with potential candidates. They know you’re there for a reason, even if you’re unsure of what it is at that time. So the key to this type of situation is to act confident, and be prepared for curveballs.
You know yourself better than anyone. A stranger in a job interview only knows what’s on the paper and what they see in front of them. You could take the time to watch for visible ticks or tell’s on the person sitting across from you, or could throw that aside and focus on the task at hand. One of the best pieces of advice I got was to interview your potential boss. Yes, they’re hiring you, but it’s your choice to accept the position so make sure to ask questions yourself.
Share What You Know
One small thing to keep in mind if they’re lacking, don’t expose their flaws. This could be very embarrasing if you know more about a certain part of the company, a new campaign, or part of their website. It’s very good to have this information on hand, but if the inexperienced is giving you hard questions answer as best you can and divert the topic to something relative in your portfolio.
[related: Let Your Value Shine]
What’s Best for the Company?
My final takeaway here is if you’re concerned that they’re not relaying your best assets back to the top, then ask them up front what they’re looking for in the position. While they may not know everything, they know what they were sent for. Be polite and respectful, and touch on the points they share with you. Also be patient, and listen clearly to the questions you’re asked…this may be the only opportunity you have to shine. If they don’t want to be there, they may start tuning you out if you derail their thought train. After the interview is done, shake hands, and follow-up with a thank you card addressed to each person who interviewed you. Even if the position didn’t work out, you may have made some new connections for your professional network.
[related: Make a To Do List for Your Interview]