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Eleven Things HR Won’t Tell You

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With all the job hunting going on right now, I get a lot of questions about how applicants can put their best foot forward and get hired.


To get the most helpful information possible, I went to the source and surveyed a group of hiring managers. They shared the following tips—things they won’t tell you at interviews but sure wish you knew before you came in the door.


1. Know your stuff. Before any interview, do your homework and research the company. Very few candidates do this, so if you are one of them, you’ll immediately set yourself apart. Research the industry and, at the very minimum, read every page of the company website to learn more about clients, services, management, and competitors. Read the company press releases to find out what their latest projects are. Utilize websites like LinkedIn or Google to learn the background of the people you’ll be meeting.


Sample comment: “I have always been astounded when I ask the question ‘Do you know what we do?’ only to get a response like ‘I sort of have an idea.’”


2. Show that you’re a good match for the job and organization. Tell the interviewer how you see yourself fitting into the company and what value you’ll be able to add quickly. Show that you’re a team member who’s willing to go to the mat and that you’re not just in the job until something better comes along. Strong commitment and positive attitude often go further than actual skill—as long as you’re teachable, open to feedback, and a quick study.


3. Don’t be late. Allow yourself enough time to get lost or delayed in traffic. Make a dry run the day before so you know exactly where you’re going, the best way to get there, and where to park. Have the phone number of the interviewer with you so if you’re unavoidably delayed you can call and see if you should still come or if another time would be better.


4. Don’t be early. If you’re really early, find a place to freshen up a little bit and wait until your appointment. You can present yourself five to ten minutes before your interview time, but no earlier. The interviewer is on a schedule and doesn’t want to see you until the appointment time.


5. Dress appropriately. This sounds simple, but too many people show up for an interview with dirty, unpressed clothes, uncombed hair, and/or needing a shower.


Sample comment: “If someone wants a job in my office, they need to show me that they are capable of looking the part. If you would wear it to the gym or the grocery store late at night, it’s probably not good for an interview.”




6. Practice the basics. You know you’re going to be asked the following: “Tell me about yourself”; “What are some of your weaknesses?”; “Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager”; “Why do you want to work for XYZ Corp?”, so have well-crafted, concise, intelligent, and creative responses ready.


7. Make the interviewer’s job easy. The interviewer is probably almost as nervous as you are. Anything you can do to make his or her job easier will be a huge boost for you. Remember—it’s a conversation. Don’t hog the discussion, tell rambling, self-serving stories, or make the interviewer drag information out of you piece by piece.


Sample comment: “I wish they knew that I don’t care about past paychecks or stories, just what they are going to do for me and how they will help this company get to the next level.”


8. Prepare intelligent, thoughtful questions. The questions you ask the interviewer are as important to your suitability for the job as the ones the interviewer asks you. Note: asking about pay, benefits, or time off at the start of an interview doesn’t qualify as either intelligent or thoughtful.


9. A professional, polished resume. These things will put you in the “no” pile immediately: typos and grammatical errors; a generic resume with no specifics; an inappropriate email address (a real example: prettyhotandtasty@hotmail.com); a cover letter that’s not keyed to this particular job. When emailing your resume as an attachment, use your full name in the file name, as in “Susan Jones Resume” and not “My Resume.”


10. Don’t forget your manners. Introduce yourself politely and remember the interviewer’s name. Don’t take a seat until offered one. If someone else comes into the interview and is introduced to you, stand up. Say “please” and “thank you.” On the way out, thank the secretary or receptionist—and make sure you got his or her name, too. Send a hand-written thank-you note within twenty-four hours of your interview.


11. Ask for the job. Too many candidates hold back for fear of looking too eager or too anxious. If you think you’re a good fit for the job and you want to work for the company, say so. It shows your passion for the opportunity and your willingness to take risks if you try to close the deal in the interview.


Originally published on HumanCapitalLeague



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