Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interviewing Soon? Remember to Give Before You Get


Change is all around us.  If you don’t learn how to change with regularity, you will professionally run out of options.  A statement like that is true in most cases.

One topic that hasn't changed much at all since I started recruiting in 1990 is interviewing.  There are many different topics that could be covered under the general heading of interviewing skills but today, I want to focus in on just one topic.

Focus on What is Important to the Interviewer

For as long as I’ve been preparing technology professionals for interviews, the order in which an interview rolls generally hasn’t changed.  The employer needs to know what they need to know about a job candidate in order for an interview to continue.

At the outset of an interview, it is critically important that you listen to exactly what the interviewer wants to talk about.  The outset of your interview is not a time for you to talk about what you want to talk about.  It is a time to focus entirely on the interviewer’s agenda.

Do this right and you will eventually get an opportunity to ask questions in order to learn about what's in it for you to consider a career move.  Do this in the wrong order and your interview will end quickly.

Clicking Point

A conversation I recently shared with a hiring manager exposed a new term to me.  The hiring manager called the moment in the interview when the table turns the “clicking point” of the interview.  This is the point in the interview when the employer has collected enough information to start believing that they might have the right candidate on the phone or they might have the right candidate sitting in front of them.

At this moment, the job candidate will have an opportunity to start asking questions and/or at this moment, the interview moves from a question / answer mode to a more relaxed two-way dialogue.

There is no magical way to know that you've hit the clicking point but you’ll know you've hit the clicking point when the discussion becomes a conversation.  I have one cautionary thought to share.  Just because the dialogue becomes a conversation doesn't mean it is okay to let your guard down in any way.

Even when the conversation part of an interview begins, you still have to stay focused on the objective of being invited to participate in the next step in the interview process.


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