Interviewing can be confidence boosting or nerve-racking (usually more of the latter). While most interviewees are focusing on themselves, they are usually oblivious to three factors within an organization that can have dramatic impact on their interviewing and subsequent hiring experience – people, process and politics.
I recently spoke at a career ready workshop sponsored by DePaul University’s marketing department. I set out to debunk three popular myths. These are based on a culmination of 25 years of hiring candidates at small, medium and large size companies.
Myth #1: People like to interview candidates.
For most interviewers the prospect of interviewing candidates is daunting and filled with dread. They feel the onus of keeping the conversation going which can be especially frustrating if the interviewee is a dud. And in today’s economic environment, there is increased pressure to select the “right” candidate.
Tip for the interviewee: Be informed, confident and memorable
Beyond knowledge about the company, industry and competition have a few past work experiences that you can speak to passionately. Your enthusiasm for work you’ve done, your accomplishments and the position you are interviewing for will be contagious. Remember, the interviewer will be asked for their opinion of you after the interview. Make it easy for them to sing your praises.
Myth #2: There is a standard interviewing process.
Given that so much hiring is now done on an as needed basis the process can vary widely. This can depend on how many people are involved in the hiring decision as well as how many openings there are to be filled. It can start with a pre-screen on the phone, in person or both. You may have to come back multiple times based on people’s schedules and availability. Don’t be surprise if they want you to do a final chemistry check with people in other departments.
Tip for the interviewee: Be flexible and ready
Let go of the notion that the interview process will be straightforward and linear. It may happen in fits and starts. This is one of many responsibilities that a hiring manager will have on their plate. No matter what, be gracious and respectful.
Myth #3: Hiring decisions are always transparent.
It’s virtually impossible to guard against internal politics and system inefficiencies. Everyone has an agenda and more than likely they are at odds with each other, especially around hiring. Be mindful there are constant internal negotiations around who to hire as well as which spots get filled first. Not to mention the raft of paperwork and approvals.
Tip for the interviewee: Be patient.
Getting hired can be quick and painless but more than likely it’s long and drawn out. Don’t be surprised if throughout the process the job specs change, the people you interview with change or the process gets put on hold for a while. The average interviewing process takes months not weeks.
When you interview, you only meet a few people but recognize there is a whole world of people, process and politics that are involved in a hiring decision. Make it easy for the organization to hire you. Take some guidance from these quick tips.