The Right and Wrong Way to Interview ... Think American Idol
I know, I know
your thinking that
So your recruiter (or whoever) arranged your first screen, either by phone or in person, same principles apply. Andnow you have “x” amount of time to convince the person doing the 1st level of interview, to actually ask you back again, OR NOT! What is so basically fundamental here is that you must never under estimate the importance of that first meeting or phone conversation.
All to often prospective candidates “under interview” thinking their resume tells enough of the story. Or worse yet, that their experience “should be” so “understood” that no explanation is needed. OH HOW WRONG YOU ARE!
You see, these few minutes, will be the deciding factor on whether or not they want to meet with you again. The impression you make here will either make the hiring manager (or whoever) decide to “let you through to Round 2, or in AMERICAN IDOL terms, (AI for you acronym loving engineers), to
So like AI, your personality and skills need to shine from the first second of your interview. They have to see your star potential. Are you personable, are you showing your passion and desire for the position, will you fit in to the culture, are your skills sharp enough to make a viable contribution. You must be ready, prepared, before your talk, so you can put on that great audition. Have an objective. Know the company. Know the space, the competition. When they ask you, “what makes you think you will be the nextAmer..” ummm engineer we hire, you have to have the right answer. You must be able to convey that to the person judging/meeting you. Will you make him feel your passion, your excitement? Will you convince him/her that you can make a valuable contribution to the company? Will you be prepared and know what they are doing, and how you could fit in. Will you know how to convince them that what you don’ know well, you can learn quickly!
If you want the job, be ready, be prepared, and that means both mentally and emotionally. This is your defining moment to shine, and just because it is technical, it is not less important.
Engineers in general, tend to be very focused on their attributes, and specialties. They know that they “know” what they do, and each of you firmly believe you do it well. Convoluted sentence, perhaps, but the reality is more problematic than the sentence. You see, if you cannot convey your expertise to the person interviewing you, your extensive knowledge base just stays and resides inside of you. No matter how much you have done, accomplished, fact is, if you cannot prove it or say it convincingly, you lose. It is almost that simple.
So here is what I suggest, and I urge you all to follow these guidelines.
First, learn as much as you can about the company. Read the website, white papers, and even look up close competitors and know about them.
Second, be confident, yet humble. Most hiring managers can be intimidated easily, so make it clear that you are there to be a part of the team, to be another cog in the wheel. Aspirations of management, and advances come when you prove your worth, or further in to the interviewing process. Let them see, feel your energy and excitement.
Third, talk about your skill sets with confidence, explain BRIEFLY your successes and roles in previous projects.
Ask relevant questions about what part of the flow they are attacking, and let them see your vision and intelligence.
These are just a few of the basics. But they will define whether you get to the next round of auditioning, interviewing. I urge you also, to look at last months column, which will help you construct a strong resume. A strong resume , and a well prepared interview will give you the best fighting chance at securing your next great opportunity.