Final Round Interviews

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As this quarter starts coming to a close, I have a handful of candidates entering final stage interviews.  They will meet the CEO, and we will either pull the trigger and make them an offer… or they will be left by the wayside.  With that in mind, I thought I’d take the time to shed some light on these nerve-wracking final interviews and give you some insight from the “inside” (generally speaking).

So, you applied for Position ABC at Company XYZ.  You’ve been through a phone screen, a 1st round interview, a 2nd round interview, perhaps a 3rd round interview, and you’ve been invited back for a final round!  Congratulations!

If we take a look at this logically, you would not have made it as far as you have if a) they didn’t like your resume b) you weren’t able to showcase your expertise, or c) they didn’t like you.  I bet that’s some weight off your shoulders, huh?

“But my final interview is with the {enter fancy title here}!!!”  How is this any different from the former interviews you have encountered?  This {enter fancy title here} is just another human being, just like you are.  And, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know my favorite saying… it’s just a conversation!

What can you expect in a final interview?  Great question.  If you’ve made it this far, the team is confident in your ability to deliver what is needed in the role.  They know what they want, and you have it!  Below are some general things final interviews are looking to cover (not an exclusive list):

  • How much do you want to work here?  Very important information.  There are the people who are running away from their current jobs, and then there are the people who are running towards this new opportunity in front of them.  Most companies want the people who are running towards them versus the other option.  Running away is never a good sign.  Why are you running?  What will happen here if you find yourself hating your job?  Will you run?  Tell them – better yet, show them! – how much you want to work there.  Show your excitement for the role, the company, and express your genuine interest in the industry.
  • Career path.  What’s the end goal for you?  We have to make sure our expectations align.  If you are coming in today as an Account Executive, and want to be CEO in the next 2 years… I’m not sure this is the place for you.  If you are coming in today as a Financial Analyst, and 3 years down the line you want to be a Finance Manager… let’s keep talking!  Make sure you know where you are, and where you are going.  Make sure the company lines up with what you want for yourself.
  • Culture fit.  What does this even mean?!  A company’s culture defines them.  It is the characteristics, values, and beliefs that make them who they are.  It is the “personality” of the company, if you will.  Do you fit into that personality?  Does it fit you?

As with any interview, come prepared with questions.  Show your interest in the company, and show you’ve done your research.  Interviews are two-way conversations.  As much as we are interviewing you, you are also interviewing us.  Take your time to get your questions answered, and we will do the same.

As always… head up, chin down!  Good luck!

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I never heard back. Why?

There comes a time when everyone thinks, “I thought I interviewed well.  What happened?  Why didn’t I get through to the next round?”  I think it’s human nature to always be asking “why”.  Let’s split this into a few scenarios:

You submitted your resume, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Before I make the decision to email/call you back, I look at your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your blog posts, your Google+ page.  I Google you.  I have seen the rants about your job, how much you hate your boss, how you can’t wait for the day to be over.  I have seen the, sometimes, “unclassy” pictures of your drunken stupor from last weekend.  Would you hire you after seeing these things?
  • Your grammar.  Did you pass 2nd grade?  If so, I expect you to know the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”.  Not only is this a poor reflection on you, but I risk my reputation as a recruiter as well.
  • Your resume is hard to read.  Why is it not in chronological order?  How long did you work at XYZ Corp?  When did you leave XYZ Corp?  Why is the font so small???  
  • Your resume is lackluster.  I can tell when you just copy a job description into your resume.  That’s great.  But tell me what YOU did in that role.
  • Your resume lacks information I want/need to see.  You’re in sales, and you don’t tell me how AWESOME you are at closing deals?  Why not?  Are you not proud of your accomplishments?  Things that make me go “hmm” will quickly put you in the reject pile.  

I had a phone interview with the recruiter, but never heard back.  Why?

  • You didn’t do your research.  Tsk tsk.  Always – ALWAYS – do a little reading on the company you’re interviewing with beforehand.  Know what their offerings are, know who their target clients are, know what questions you want to ask.  What else can you research?  The recruiter.  Find out where they went to school, their career history… use it to your advantage.  Build rapport with them off of any commonalities you might have.
  • You talk too much.  Long-winded answers rarely get you anywhere.  Why aren’t you listening to questions I’m asking?  Why aren’t you answering my question directly?  What are you dancing around?  Nerves are hard to overcome in interviews, I get it.  But you have to listen for cues.  What is the recruiter asking of you?  What kind of information does the recruiter need to evaluation your background? 
  • Your answers sound rehearsed and redundant.  Are you telling me the same thing using different words?  Have you said these sentences/phrases over and over in front of a mirror, and in every interview?  We can hear these nuances.
  • You don’t follow directions.  I found you on LinkedIn, I already have access to your profile.  When I ask for a resume, please send it to me.  Don’t direct me back to your LinkedIn page.  Not following an “ask” is a tell-tale sign of how much you want something.  
  • You interview poorly.  I have said it a million times, “interviews are just conversations”.  We are here to learn about each other.  I talk to some candidates where I feel like I’m trying to pull teeth.  Brag about yourself!  Be confident in your abilities.  Ask questions right back at the recruiter.  Just as we’re interviewing you, interview us!

I had an interview with the hiring manager, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Lack of detail.  By the time you’ve gotten to the hiring manager, they are looking for details on why you’d be great at a job.  If you can’t back up statements like “I’m a successful sales rep” with things like “I achieved 200% of my quota YOY by continuously prospecting my territory, fearlessly hunting and cold calling, and continuously analyzing my plan of attack”, the hiring manager isn’t going to be able to assess how well you’d do here.   
  • You didn’t send a “thank you”.  Call it what you will.  Some hiring managers don’t care.  Some do.  Some make it a “mandatory”, while others are just a “nice to have”.  But, why not increase your chances by taking 2 minutes out of your day to email them?  Show them you want it!

Job searches are hard.  Some would say, interviews are harder.  They’re stressful, they put you in a position of vulnerability.  Approach your job search like you would any other tough situation in life — head on!   

Remember… head down, chin up!  

 

Interview Question: What was the worst career move you have made?

I have gotten this interview question a few times in my career, and every time I thought to myself, “Well, that’s negative, isn’t it?”  But, as you take a step back and think about why the interviewer is asking it, you begin to realize exactly what they are trying to figure out.

If you ask me what my biggest career move, this is how I’d answer:

Out of college, I entered the world of sales.  I was good at it and made a lot of money.  I made a natural progression into Recruiting.  But, there came a point where I wanted to see what else I could do.  So, I left sales/recruiting and was hired as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of a biotech company.  It was a role completely foreign to me, but one that I wanted to explore.  I wanted to see what else I was capable of.

Within a few months, I knew that I had made a huge mistake.  I was miserable, and immediately started my job search.  It had absolutely nothing to do with the company or the people I worked with.  It was me.

I quickly learned that I was a proactive employee.  I like being responsible for my day.  I like knowing that I will “fail” if I don’t continue to put in work.  I like knowing that the work I put in today, pays off tomorrow.  I learned that some people are reactive employees, and like being given projects to be done on a deadline.  I was not that person.

Being proactive is like a game to me.  I’m competitive by nature and can’t just stand by and watch things happen.  And, that’s how I landed back in Recruiting.  My work is measurable and defines my success.

So, my “mistake”?  Going outside of my comfort zone.

The real question behind the real question?… What lessons have you learned along the way?

As always… head up, chin down!  GOOD LUCK!

Respect

I have to say it.  I hate it when I find the perfect passive candidate, who says they are selectively looking, who seemingly is perfect for the role I sought them out for, who said they were mutually excited to chat… falls off the face of the planet.  I get it, though.  I really do.  You may have spoken too soon, or now your boss loves you, or what if your boss finds out you’re interviewing!  I understand completely.  But,  if you’ve changed your mind about your job search, just tell me up front and honestly.  

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

You have to treat a job search like a relationship.  You don’t know what bridges you are burning, so keep everything nice and respectful.  You wouldn’t dump your girlfriend by completely ignoring her for a few weeks, right?  

Don’t answer that.

Whatever you do, be respectful of the recruiter’s time, and it will pay off in the end.  The recruiter at Company A (that you’re not so excited about) may end up being the recruiter for Company B (your dream job) some day.   We don’t forget names.  We don’t forget faces.  

We will forgive you if you say our company isn’t a right fit for you.  But, tell us that it isn’t the right fit for you.

 

 

Developing Employees

 

A colleague of mine sent this to me yesterday.  Couldn’t be further from the truth…

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Companies that fail to invest in their employees will lose their employees.  Companies that fail to invest in their employees will suffer as a corporation due to high turnover, lack of motivation, and generally unhappy employees.  

I am a firm believer that companies should develop their employees… not to fear that they will use those newly acquired skills/expertise to leave, but to believe they will be a better asset to their company.  

What will you do?