Everybody Loves…..interviewing.

Okay, let’s hear it from those of us who love to interview candidates or be interviewed for jobs……(crickets chirping)……

The reality for most people is that whether you are a job seeker or a hiring manager, you probably don’t like to interview. Yes, I’m referring to both being interviewed and conducting interviews!

Why is that? Why do such communicative, cordial, outgoing, even loquacious (yes I’ve been on Thesaurus.com…..really) people not relish the idea of having a conversation as important as a job interview? Maybe because it’s not really a conversation….but a sales-pitch.

Most people don’t like to sell, even fewer like to be sold to. Ask a non-sales candidate if they are interested in sales duties, and you will see how quickly the color drains from their face. Most job seekers don’t do sales for a living. Most hiring managers don’t do sales for a living. See what I mean?

Let’s look at it from both sides. For a job seeker, an interview is usually scary. It is one of the times in your life that you really open yourself up to be judged and look the possibility of rejection square in the face (remember the first date you went on?). Interviewing also takes quite a bit of time. It consists of not only the physical interview, but also changing your schedule to accommodate, time spent researching, and even practicing interviews in front of the mirror.

For a hiring manager or interview conductor, believe it or not…it can also be scary. Okay, maybe not scary, but unnerving. Questions like “what if I choose the wrong person”, or “what if I make the wrong hire” are common. It also may be your only chance to really show this great candidate why your company is so good and why they need to work there. Interviewing also takes time…even when time is in short supply.

So what gives? If interviewing is so terrible, why do it? Is there any help out there? Well, here are some suggestions.

For Job Seekers:
1. Think like a business owner. Boiling it down, business owners are interested in 3 things…Making Money, Saving Money, and Maximizing Efficiency (Never Cold Call Again, Frank Rumbauskas Jr.) Present yourself in this way. How will you make the company money, save the company money, or maximize their efficiency? Talk about your skills and experience in these terms…ie…how did you make your last company money, save them money, or maximize their efficiency.
2. Know your value. While it is hard to sell a product, any good sales person will tell you that it’s almost impossible to sell a product that you don’t believe in. Do you believe in YOU? What are you really worth? Obviously there is something in your resume and experience the interviewer likes, or you wouldn’t be there. Are you the type of person YOU would want to work with? Be that person.
3. Time is precious. Your time is valuable, but so is the time of the interviewer. Listen carefully to each question and answer it with precision. Don’t oversell….don’t ramble on….remember, you are a product they already want – so give them what they are asking for. This type of skill is usually nurture not nature, so get in front of that mirror and PRACTICE! Be friendly, but be precise.

For Interviewers/Managers:
1. Think like a business owner. Ask questions that will allow you to determine if this candidate will: Make your company money, Save your company money, or Maximize your company’s Efficiency. Ask the candidate to demonstrate how they’ve done this for other employers, and how they plan to do it for you.
2. Know your company’s value. You know what your company is “really” like, not just what people see on your website or read in your quarterly reports. This candidate wants to work for you (or they wouldn’t be interviewing), so tell them why your company IS the right place for them. Candidates will look to you as the expert…so be the expert! Regardless of whether this candidate gets the job or not, this could be the best PR your company will ever get. Are you the type of person this candidate will want to work with? Be that person.
3. Time is precious. How do you approach your other work projects? Do you put the same amount of preparation and thought into interviewing? Ask specific questions, don’t allow the candidate to wander (remember they are nervous), and respect the candidate’s time. Start on time, end on time. Be friendly, but be precise.

Interviews are difficult – for both the interviewer and the person being interviewed. Know what you want, know what your value is, and always make sure the precious time you spend in an interview is productive. If all else fails, take the wonderful advice of my friend Randy Levinson (http://bit.ly/MHYEY) …wear the right shoes!

Find more hiring tips at: http://hire-right.blogspot.com

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