Words by Laura Quick
For the last 8 years I’ve been interviewing people—all different ages, all different roles, and personality types of all kinds—and here is what I know: interviewing is hard for both parties! As the interviewer, I have so much pressure on me to discern if this person is a good fit, and if they are truthful in their own evaluation of skills. Are they likable? Passionate? A good fit for culture? The list goes on and on. And as for the person sitting in the hot seat? Well, you need a job! And sometimes, depending how much you want said job—the little things seem to slip. So here ya go friends, my best advice for those of you trying to land the job of your dreams... or hey, the job for right now.
1. Do Your Homework.
Nothing is more impressive than someone who shows up to an interview with something relevant about my business to discuss ...or compliment, or ask a question. It’s enough to get me leaning into that person and really hoping they are a good fit. Listen, I own a magazine, one wildly distributed in most every US state. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve interviewed since it’s inception that tell me they “love it,” but they’ve never seen a hard copy. WHAT? No. Just no. The same goes for any brand—you may not have access to something tangible like a magazine for the company you are interviewing for, but read up on them—not just their website, but articles by other people. If it's possible, you should find out more about the person interviewing you! It goes a long way to come in knowing enough to be interested.
2. Forget About Being Interesting, Be Interested.
You have a limited amount of time to prove you are the perfect candidate for this job that you really want or NEED. I get it. We are all tempted to dive into hyper bragging—or at least the explanation of our skill set and what makes us the right person. But don’t do it. Don’t give into the temptation. Not yet. A first interview is the interview I’m trying to determine your likability, listening skills, curiosity, and relationship skills above all else. If you spend the first 30 minutes with me talking about yourself, I’m left scratching my head on those skills. Instead, ask questions! Interview the interviewer.
"How long have you worked here?"
"Tell me about the company culture?"
"What other position within this company have you held?"
Whatever you do, be interested. The more interested you are, the more interesting this interviewer will find you.
3. Find Out The Problem Your Position Will Be Solving.
Now, I know this may seem redundant, but after showing up knowledgeable and inquisitive, then it's time to move into some specifics about the particular position. You know what I always wish a potential candidate would ask me? "If this position could solve a problem for you, what would it be?" Honestly, if someone asked me this question, I would probably pass out. It’s brilliant. Not just because it makes you seem like you are a solution-oriented person (which is MY FAVORITE TYPE OF HUMAN), it also gives you valuable intel. See, if you know a big problem, then you can really set yourself up to do homework for a follow up email or phone call... or if things go really well, a 2nd interview!
4. Ask For Homework.
In my experience, my most successful working relationships have been built on project based building blocks. Time is a gift we don’t always have when we need a job (or when we need to fill a position quickly 😬😬), but don’t be afraid to offer up a quick project to highlight how you could solve that big problem they told you about. This shows you are hungry, and that you are more than a resume. There is nothing that inspires me and motivates me more than someone with initiative, a great attitude, and finish-line drive.