Interview Tip: Be Honest, Be Enthusiastic, Be an Interviewee

 We live in a society of chameleons–people constantly changing themselves to blend in with their environments in an effort to survive, to keep afloat, to stay ahead. So it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to change a part of who you are as you go into an interview.

 But it is a big deal. The truth is that HR managers, hiring managers, and team members don’t like it. Whether they see through your act or end up thinking that you’re an over-confident jerk, it never works well for candidates who aren’t honest and open with their interviewers, who don’t show excitement for the position they’re interviewing for, and who try to take over the interview.

 Here’s some real feedback we’ve received on candidates after their interviews:

 “The majority of the team thinks he is trying too hard to sell himself.”

 “I think he wanted to run the interview.”

 “His gesture and manner during the interview suggested that he felt he was more the interviewer than the interviewee.”

 “He was self-centered.”

 “Although he did express some interest in the position, I sensed his heart wasn’t in it.”

 “He seemed like he’d quit if something better came along.”

 “[The candidate] confessed that he was interviewing at least two other companies during his trip here, which we paid for–one of which was a competitor.”

 “He seemed like he was more interested in development and design rather than QA.”

 “When asked what interested him about [the client], he said, ‘Well, I need a job.'”

 “The contributed sense was that [the candidate] wasn’t all that interested in us.”

 “His career mindset doesn’t show that he has a passion and heart for what he is interviewing for.”

 The common themes we find when a candidate is rejected for non-technical reasons:

 1. The candidate was over-confident and/or boastful.

 2. The candidate talked too much and ran the interview instead of letting the hiring manager take the lead.

 3. The candidate wasn’t that interested in the position.

 4. The candidate seemed like he was trying too hard to fit the bill, instead of letting us discover that naturally over the course of the interview.

 5. The candidate wasn’t passionate about the work we’d ask him to do.

 More times than not, we as staffing managers and recruiters are dumbfounded by this feedback–just the day before, we’d spent an hour on the phone with the candidate discussing how he felt he was perfect for it! We’d told him to give detailed answers, but only answer the question, to let the interviewer lead, to express his interest, to admit when he didn’t know something.

 In the interview, though, it seems that candidates forget everything we’ve told them, so we have to drill it into your minds!

 Be honest: employers want you to tell them when you need to refresh your memory, when you don’t know something, or when you really like working alone instead of on a team.

 Be enthusiastic: it’s a good thing to tell the company how much you want to work for them. Leave no questions or doubts to them; the candidate they hire won’t.

 Be an interviewee: you’re sitting on the easy side of the desk. All you have to do is answer questions and be yourself. They’re the ones who have to make all the tough decisions.

Megan Kuethen© 2010.

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