Top 5 Things to Do for Successful Job Interviews

After listening to five different businesses from different industries on what they look for when doing job interviews, I have summarized the five things that all interviewees should know. To elaborate on which businesses I am referring to: I mentioned in my post last week, Going Swift, the Apple Way, that prior to the Swift demo, guest speakers from businesses in Reno and Sparks, NV were asked to come in and discuss what it was that they were looking for when hiring new employees.

As a quick reminder, the speakers present were:

Admittedly, for this discussion, there was a focus on hiring employees with skills regarding Information Systems (IS) and Computer Science (CS), but I believe that the interview tips that they mentioned apply to ALL jobs, not just IS and CS.

1. Research the Company

Most companies do not ask basic questions anymore because it doesn’t tell them anything. They want to know how interested you are in the job and the company, and you can demonstrate that by researching the company before the interview.

Find out: (1) their goal/mission, (2) their target market, (3) their current projects, etc.  There is so much information available to you thanks to the internet. Take advantage of this opportunity in order to be as competitive as possible!

2. Answer Questions Honestly

As Abbi points out, owners and managers aren’t stupid, “we recognize BS when we hear it.” So, those of us who go in and spew a bunch of statements such as ‘I’m a hard worker and a team player,’ ‘I work well with others,’ ‘I always give it 110%’ etc.? We’re basically getting ourselves a one-way ticket out the front door.

What companies want to know is the truth. If you’re honest, you’re more likely to find the right job for you – even if it isn’t with that company.

3. Avoid Being a “Me” Monster

What company’s are looking for is not a one-man operation, but a team operation. The people running these companies recognize that different people have different skills, and they also recognize that they need to place the proper person in the proper job in order for the company to be successful. They won’t hire someone who is unwilling or unable to recognize the worth of each individual as a piece of a whole.

4. Skills Don’t Make/Break Your Chances

Bryan and Brandon in particular were quick to point out that having certain skills is not 100% necessary. Sure, they would like you to have some kind of awareness of what it is that they’re trying to hire you for, but they believe that most skills can be taught.

Honestly, this goes against everything I have ever experienced when job hunting. In my experience, resumes are reviewed with a “check-box mentality,” and if certain words are not present, you won’t be considered for the interview. But, if these businesses are to be believed, that’s not the case anymore.

Regardless, if you have even some experience in a certain field, you can at least try to get an interview. Who knows, maybe you’ll get the chance to prove your worth; but, if you never try, you’ll never know.

5. Your Personality/Fit is the Deciding Factor

In my opinion, this is the most complicated and the most important item. You cannot change your personality, nor can you force the company to hire you if they don’t think you will “fit” in their culture. The truth is, this is too complicated of a topic for this post and will need to be continued to a separate post; however, what an interviewee needs to know is that the company is looking at who they are rather than what they can do.

All five companies in the speaker panel agreed that the ultimate decision on whether or not to hire someone was dependent on whether that person was the right “fit” for the job. Not necessarily a fit for the job itself, but rather, a fit for the existing company culture.


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