These are the two words every job candidate longs to hear. But are you really doing everything that it takes to ensure you get to hear them?
In Jim Collins’ book "Good to Great", Jim talks a lot about "getting the right people on the bus". What he’s saying is that one of the biggest similarities all of the companies who he studied and defined as "great" have in common is they’re all about getting the right people on board first and foremost.
At FPA, we’ve always felt that the quality of our staff is one of the keys to our success. So it should come as no surprise that we too spend a lot of effort during the hiring process looking to get the right people on board. By no means, does it stop there. But while we spend tons of time on training and development once on board, the hiring process is key.
However, we can only do what we can do. More than half of the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the prospective candidates. And one of the things that candidates all too often fail to realize is how much control they have over their own destiny. Too often they’re worried about what their resume says, or what their skills are, or how they can sell themselves by answering all the questions with a ton of "yeses".
But they really don’t see the bigger picture. I’ve interviewed hundreds if not thousands of candidates over the years and after a while you get really good at reading people and specifically reading between the lines. And to me, it’s all about the little things that go to whether a candidate will not only be successful, but will be one of the rare "great ones". Without revealing too much, here’s a quick little list of some of the most importance aspects I look for when interviewing:
- Do your homework: make sure you know about the company you’re interviewing with. Be prepared to talk about what you understand about them as well as what you don’t know.
- Come prepared: bring a pad and take notes. Show that you value the interviewer's time. Show that the details matter.
- Look the part: dress for success. This doesn’t necessarily mean always wear a suit and tie – unless of course this is what the position requires. What it does mean is show that you care about how you look and how others perceive you and that you’re taking the interview seriously.
- Ask questions: ask meaningful questions. Show interest. Ask what success looks like. Ask how you will be evaluated. Show that you’ve given some thought to the position, your career, and how YOU will bring value to the organization. Engage in a conversation.
- Be humble: don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. It’s ok. I’d rather see honesty in someone than someone blowing smoke.
- Send a follow up: this goes to character. Hiring someone is mostly about the feeling you get from them. Sending a follow up more often than not separates you from the crowd. And everything you can do to separate you (in a positive way) ups the perception of you.
Again, we’re looking for "indicators" – things that will indicate how you’re going to work. All of these things are HUGE indicators. And technical chops are secondary to everything else.
Now keep in mind – all of these won’t get you the job. But, if you do these things and you’re doing them for the right reasons, I could almost guarantee you will be successful – not only in the interview, but in life!