Don Your Sleuth Hat- And a Smile

When you interview, you have two remits – sell yourself and be a sleuth.  

Imagine this – a recruiter calls to tell you about an exciting job at a great company. It sounds interesting but you’re not 100% sold.  Is it the right level for me? Will this help me advance in my career? Is this a growing industry? Why aren’t the online employee reviews more positive? But there’s enough there that catches your attention, so you toss your hat in the ring.

You have a phone call or meet in person. Then you call your recruiter. “I’m so glad I interviewed. I asked a lot of questions. The company is great, the role is challenging and interesting – a real growth opportunity for me. I’m super interested.”

Here’s the feedback from the company: “Maurice was a solid candidate. He has the right experience and knows our industry inside out. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem excited about us. He asked a lot of questions, which were good, but he seemed skeptical. We are looking for someone who is just as enthusiastic about us as we are about them.”

The lesson? Even if you aren’t 100% convinced about a company or a position, interview with an open mind and a positive attitude. If you are interested enough to explore the role, you want to be sure aren’t shutting a door with your perceptions before you have a chance to learn more.

  • Frame questions in a positive way– Ask about a project you might work on if you were to start in the next month.  Find out how the project connects with the company’s overarching business goals, what success looks like and how it is measured.
  • Ask questions about the culture– why they joined the company, how the company celebrates successes, what causes are important to the company and how they show that, etc.
  • Dive into the department/position– Ask what’s in place and working well? What needs immediate attention?
  • Have a conversation with your interviewer– Allow yourself to be human. You will spend a lot of time with your coworkers – get to know each other.
  • Be curious, rather than inquisitive– This nuance can be the difference that could get you hired.

“My biggest mistake is probably weighing too much on someone’s talent and not someone’s personality.” – Elon Musk