Becoming an Impressive Interviewer

As a recruiter at Russell Tobin, one of our responsibilities is to prepare our candidates for in-person interviews with prospective hiring managers.  Like most candidates that are deployed on interviews from a staffing firm, they typically meet the minimum qualifications for the job.  Most candidates believe that because they can do the job, they can get the job!  Unfortunately for most candidates, doing the job and getting the job requires two different sets of skills.

Hiring managers strive to hire the candidate who is best suited for their job in terms of their skills, experience and personality fit.  I’m not here to teach you a new job skill, or miraculously give you a few extra years of work experience, but I am here to touch upon a few ways a candidate can impress a hiring manager during an interview.

Be punctual & courteous.  Leave with plenty of time and aim to arrive for the interview 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.  If you’re running late, call the recruiter to let him or her know.  Also, be respectful of the interviewers’ time and don’t arrive too early.

Be a good non-verbal communicator.  Be sure to smile and warmly greet everyone you meet with a firm handshake and introduction.  Maintain your smile, eye contact & posture throughout the interview.  Do your best to avoid clicking your pen, fidgeting, squirming in your seat, displaying negative facial expressions and reactions throughout the interview. The worst thing you can do is look bored, annoyed or miffed during the interview.

Dress for success.  It’s important to dress appropriately for a job interview.  Dressing for job interviews used to be pretty simple, regardless of industry or job title.  Nowadays, standards have changed. If you’re interviewing at a tech startup where most people wear jeans and t-shirts to work, you can be a bit more relaxed and wear business casual attire to the interview.  Regardless of the formality or informality of the company, you want to dress to impress when you’re going on a job interview.

Prepare for the interview.  Think of an interview as an in-person verbal exam on your job and your career.  Prior to an interview, I always suggest to candidates that they should prepare themselves by reviewing their resume a few times, as well as reviewing the job description a few times.  From there, it’s best to prepare yourself with 3 or 4 talking points that coincide with your experience & the target role.  The talking points can be related to your major accomplishments and key responsibilities that you’ll want to highlight during the interview.  The better prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be.

Ask questions.  This is your opportunity to interview your future boss the same way he or she is evaluating you!  As the conversation progresses, you may be curious about certain aspects of the role or company – go ahead and ask the questions!  A common deal breaker for interviewers is when candidates don’t ask any questions; it projects disinterest and a lack of intellectual curiosity.

Remember, just because you can do the job, doesn’t mean you can always get the job.  Following these tips will increase your odds of getting that job offer!

Andrew Leung

Andrew is a seasoned recruitment specialist with the Accounting & Finance team at Russell Tobin.

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