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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What did I do wrong??

Have you ever:

  • Sent an email to a recruiter… and never heard back?
  • Applied for a job… and never heard back?
  • Interviewed… and never heard back?

Let’s face it, the answer is a resounding “YES” to all of the above.  Don’t be shy.  We have all been there.  Even the best of us have struggled in our job searches.  And that’s ok!  So many times, I get asked “What did I do wrong?”

I can sum it up into one word: PRESENTATION.  This applies to anything and everything involved in an interview process.

Imagine the following scenario.  You email a recruiter, “Hi there, I’m intrested in the sales postion your posted on LinkedIn.  Selling SaaS software is my life, and I can’t wait to here from you!”  What’s wrong with this?  You want me to believe you’re great at what you do if you can’t use spell check?  Your crazy. (See what I did there? :))

Let’s try another scenario. You sent your resume into the “resume black hole”.  Why didn’t you get a call back?  I can go on and on and on about reasons why you didn’t.  But, let me list the most common.  1)  You weren’t a fit for the role.  Did you read the job description?  Do you have the required hard skills?  2) Your resume says another company’s name in the Objective.  “I want to help build NOT-YOUR-COMPANY’S brand to it’s potential.”  Great, good luck with that!  3) No contact information.  Surprised?  Don’t be.  A lot of times, candidates do not provide a good phone number or email address for us to reach them.  If we can’t reach you, how can you be considered for the role?

Ok, one more.  You got the call back!  Congrats!  You interviewed with the team, thought it went well, and… nothing.  I will say that it is NEVER ok for a recruiter/company to not provide you with an update to your candidacy.  But what could have possibly gone wrong?  You thought you had it in the bag!  Again, PRESENTATION.  Did you research the company?  Were you an off-the-wall bundle of energy interviewing at an old-school, play-by-the-rules corporation?  Did you wear jeans and a t-shirt to a super formal workplace?  Perhaps your thoughts were all over the place, or maybe you were a nervous wreck.

The moral of the story is: presentation.  Be diligent with you who present to your potential future employer.  How do you want them to see you?  What kind of person do you want them to view you as?  What is it they will gain by hiring you?

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

Job Hunting is Like Dating!

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Friends, we have all been there.  The wonderful world of dating!  Whether you are still courting your neighbor, flirting with every cute girl that walks into your office space, spending your time with your one-and-only (for now), or fully committed to Prince Charming… we have all “been there”.  The trials and tribulations of dating teaches us so many things in life.

… Like how to job search!

What?!  Seriously, Lianne?  Yes!  Let me explain.

PART 1:  Finding the “one”

  1. Setting standards.  As in dating, we need to know what we want.  If you have no direction, how will you ever find Mr. Right?  Take your standards and apply them to your job search.  What are you looking for?  What excites you?  What is an absolute deal-breaker?  What are you willing to compromise on?  Do you have your heart set on anything?
  2. First impressions matter.  Ask anyone about what they first noticed about their partner?  For fun, I asked my sister’s boyfriend and he responded, “How put together she was compared to everyone else”.  Couldn’t have said it better.  What is going to set you apart from everyone else?  How will the employer remember you, and not the guy who interviewed before you?
  3. Desperation stinks.  Who wants a stage-five clinger?  Don’t be that person.  Employers want to know they are hiring someone with options, not someone who will take the first thing thrown at them.  They want to know they are investing in YOU and what you bring to the table.
  4. Be yourself.  You want your date to like you for who you are… not who you pretend to be.  In the same regard, employers want to hire YOU!  Not who you are pretending to be.  Facades only get you so far.
  5. Two way street.  Dating is a two way street.  Do you like me as much as I like you?  No?  Then it probably will not work out in the long run.  A job hunt is the same way.  While it may work in the short-term, the company has to be just as much a fit for you, as you are for them.
  6. No big egos.  Big egos are a turn-off in almost any situation.  Need I say more?

PART 2:  Stages

  1. Courting.  Flirting with disaster?  Luring the forbidden?  Whatever you call it, you need to find a way to make them notice you!  How will you do that?  Wearing a big sparkly hat at the restaurant?  Maybe.  In a job search situation, being an industry expert certainly sets you apart.
  2. Dating.  This is essential.  It is where people learn about each other, where they learn whether or not they like what is under the makeup, where they determine if you fit their “standards” (see Part 1, #1).  Dating is like interviewing.  It’s a time for both parties to ask questions, to probe and to prodder about things that they want to know about, to find out what they love and hate about you.
  3. The Close.  After a few weeks, you know you’re 100% into her.  You want to spend all your time with her, and no one else.  You know you’ve found the match!  Now what?  Close to deal.  Make her your “better half”.  Just as in dating, when you find that company that is a mutual fit, find a way to seal the deal.  Sell them on your ability to transform their organization.

What do you think now?  Dating and job searching are pretty similar, huh?  That’s what I thought.

I wish you all a life full of happiness together 🙂

 

As always… chin up, head down!

 

Hiring Process [infographic]

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Let’s take a look at this infographic.  What this is saying is that: for every 1000 people that see a job posting, only about 100 actually complete the application.  If the company you applied to uses a resume scanning software, only 25% of those applicants make it through to a live human being.  Of those 25% that made it to a live screening, only 4-6 get selected to interview.  Only about half of those interviewers get selected for final round interviews.  And, only ONE gets offered the position.

The numbers are shocking, aren’t they?  

So, now you ask… why isn’t my resume making it through?  Simple answer: you don’t have the right keywords in your resume.  This is how a resume scanning software works.   A recruiter puts certain keywords from the job description (example: enterprise sales, solution selling, consultative, SaaS, Cloud).  Any resume that comes through the system that does NOT have those keywords, automatically get thrown into the “reject” pile.  The resumes that DO have those keywords, move forward in the process.

“But, wait!  I’m qualified!”

While not all companies use this scanning tool, the ones who do are looking to narrow down their candidate pool to ones that have the highest probability of being a match for what they are looking for.  

“What does that mean for me?”

Take the time an customize each and every resume you’re sending in.  It sounds like a hassle, but as statistics show, you’ll have a much better chance of making the “cut” if you can identify keywords from the posting and insert them into your resume.  It takes a mere 5 minutes, and can save you the heartbreak of another rejection email.

 

As always, keep your head up!  The search for your dream job isn’t easy, but it WILL be worth it!