Insider Intel On the Realities of Job Interviews

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In recent years I have read 3213 blogs on “How to Get the Job!”  They include:  "Five Secrets Interviewers Never Reveal," "Five Secrets Your Resume Reveals," "Five Methods to Instant Hiring" and "Five Reasons Interviewers Hate You."  Perhaps you've seen those blogs.  Few, if any, of these well-meaning pieces match my experiences in the process of hiring.  The "five tips" articles may be true in the halls of business schools, textbooks and HR manuals but that's not how a person is chosen for a job.  I have hired and witnessed the hiring of thousands of people at private and public companies.  I have hired at 100-year-old companies and at start-ups.  I've hired people who earn much more or much less than I did.  Here's what you need to know:

The Resume.  The person interviewing you is filtering you.  In an interview, they have absolutely no way to judge whether or not you can or will do the tasks involved with the job.  Therefore they assume your skills are satisfactory.  When scanning your resume they are not looking for the right action phrases or results-sets.  Resumes are reviewed for mutual familiarity.  Do you know the same people?  Companies?  Conferences and conventions?  Did you go to the same schools?  Anything to establish common points of reference.

If there are no points of commonality, your odds of getting the job are zero.

The Conversation.  The interviewer wants to hear your knowledge of the company.  They don't want to hear your nonsense about prior employers, troubles finding the office, odd vacation stories, etc.  They want to hear pristine, accurate information about the company's product and reputation, past and future.

Read every article ever written about your potential employer.  Show respect.

The Connections.  If you are connected to a person on "the team" or "the staff" that could be helpful.  If you are connected to a boss that is probably a problem.  Interviewers don't want you if you are connected to the boss – that means they will have to come up with reasons to prove to the boss why you shouldn't be hired.  Nobody wants a co-worker with a backdoor to the boss.

If the boss wants you there that badly, let her hire you herself rather than trying to put a "right way" bow on it.

The People Who Do the Hiring.  There are two people who do the hiring:  The one who is interviewing you and the one whom coworkers fear.  The person who is interviewing you is not hiring you.  He is checking you out to see if "Susan" will tolerate you.  Susan has the most valued skill set in the company. She may be the lead inventor, seller, designer or strategist.  Whatever she's got, no one wants to tick-off Susan!

If you get a second interview it will be with Susan.  It will be presented in this way:  "I would just like you to meet and greet Susan, she loves to hear new ideas."  Susan hates new ideas but no one wants you to be overwhelmed by this event.  Never assume this is a formality.  The second interview is the real interview.  It might take only 30 seconds but the second interview determines your fate.  Susan doesn't read resumes.  She reads you!

Good luck!

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