In life, it’s best to think in the other party’s operating reality. People, by nature, are lazy. They want to get the most results with the least amount of work. So when you’re hunting for your dream job, try to keep that in mind when you’re contacting the hiring manager. This is not to shame the HR department of the company you’re looking at, as it’s just human nature. So keeping in mind that the people in charge of hiring want to get the best candidate possible while doing the least amount of work possible, how are you going to make an impression? Well, you’re going to have to sell yourself.
1. Get into contact with employees of the company. [See Network Like a Pro]
Reach out to people besides the hiring manager. See if you can get them to put in a good word. Don’t forget to do something for them in return.
2. Prepare what you know about the company
This is important because by doing this, you’re making an effort to go beyond the job before you even get the job. You’re researching the company culture, you’re picturing yourself there. Write a mini report about what makes the company special, charitable causes the company cares about, and then study the report. The more you know and are comfortable talking about aspects of the company, the more you’ll fit in when the time of the interview comes.
3. Prepare what you know about the industry
If you’re thinking in the operating reality of the company, you’d know that they will probably want somebody who knows a thing or two about their competitors, the threats, and the opportunities present in the industry. Perhaps you’ll write out a SWOT analysis on the company, and study that before your interview.
4. Create questions for the company… and not just the generic ones
A memorable candidate doesn’t ask the questions that immediately pop up when you google “what questions should you ask the hiring manager in an interview.” A memorable candidate genuinely has questions that need to be answered in order for them to even consider taking the job. And if you’ve completed the previous 3 steps in this article, my guess is that some questions have certainly popped up in your head. WRITE THEM DOWN.
- “I noticed that [insert new, hip company] has created a product that competes with your [insert product line]. How do you guys plan to differentiate yourselves from the market?”
5. Look at the job description and make connections to your resume.
Print out a copy of the job description. Print out a copy of your resume. What does the job want? What do each of these line items mean? If it says “strong ability to multi-task,” you can cite the fact that you worked in the restaurant business as a waiter and constantly multi-tasked every shift. Think outside the box about your experiences. They’re worth more than you might think. Your resume is a piece of paper with statements about you on it. The job description basically gives you the framework to articulate what exactly your resume means in the context of the employer. What do you have to offer them? It’s a sales call. Sell yourself.
6. Prepare answers to interview questions.
A lot of articles will tell you to look up common interview questions and practice answering each one. So yes, prepare answers to the common questions. I’ve found that some hiring managers enjoy throwing a curve ball (just to watch us squirm). Preparing stories, rather than answers, could put you ahead of the game. Think about a time where you had to show true leadership, a time where you had to overcome a challenge, a time where you had to settle a conflict in the workplace, a time where you had to reach a difficult goal, a time when you felt like you succeeded, a time when you felt like you failed and what you did to remedy the situation. If you have all of these stories prepared, it’ll be easier to apply the story to a slightly different kind of question that may not have been listed on the top 100 interview question list.
7. Follow Up!
Following up seems like a no brainer. Yes, you send a thank you email after the interview, highlighting key points that you talked about with the hiring manager. But please, write a hand-written thank you note. So many people say that they will and then stop themselves. It’s not cheesy. It’s classy. It shows that you go the extra mile, even when it’s not necessary. Isn’t that what every employer wants?
Go the extra mile. It means a lot to the company, and it will develop good habits within you that will transcend into other areas of your life. An interview is a sales call. Life is a sales call. Are you going to close that sale?
Kate Jacoutot is the marketing coordinator for Spire Workforce Solutions. For more information about Kate and her marketing services, visit www.thronemarketingtm.com.