The key to any successful baseball player and any athlete is that he prepares himself, both mentally and physically, way before he steps in the batter’s box.
As Director of Employment for Project Ezrah, it is often that our group is called upon to help guide individuals in the interview process. We look forward to sharing our combined experience of over 35 years in the field of recruiting and HR to provide valuable insight and strategy to our candidates. I have included here a few nuggets of information that have made a difference for others and will hopefully be helpful for you or anyone you know going through a job search process.
I look upon my 18 years as an Executive Recruiter and remember a few select candidates who were truly top notch and who I helped coach to succeed in the interview. The interviews were with companies like: Sanofi, Hertz, Random House, Morgan Stanley, Warburg Pincus, etc; each company having a very competitive interview process to navigate.
In one instance, a high level candidate I was working with, Roy, and I discussed steps to take during the interview. He had informed me what he had already done to prepare for this interview. Roy was an outstanding candidate with phenomenal communication skills. He would flourish in any situation he was put in so he didn’t really need much preparation at all. However, his preparation was extremely thorough and thought out. He planned down to every detail so that when he got to the batter’s box, he would make sure he hit the ball. This was his moment.
The preparation was the key to his success. Truth be told, he did get the offer from the company and accepted it but later had to decline because of four words on the contract and there went a handsome fee. But we are still friends!
What I learned from working with Roy is that even for the most polished candidate, their success in the interview was driven by the importance they put on the preparation prior to the meeting.
So I know you have sent out your resume numerous times to friends, LinkedIn connections, direct to companies and recruiters and now the moment has come where you get the call or email that they would like to meet you. You think….
Outstanding! I got an interview…
The time to prepare for an interview starts the moment you begin your job search. Most people begin preparing too late – they start when the interview is scheduled. The steps you take to prepare are critical to your success. Do not believe that a summation of your life’s work will suffice in the interview. So what to do….
Review your resume – At the interview, your resume is the most important document in your life. It is necessary to know it well, every bullet and all of the dates associated with your career. This will help you field questions but will also indicate to the interviewer that you are detail-oriented and are prepared for the meeting. When asked about content or dates on your resume, it is never good to answer question with words like – I think, sort of, that was awhile ago.
Role Play – Now that you know your resume extremely well, it is imperative to ask yourself questions that you believe an interviewer will ask, and them answer them; not in your mind but out loud. Listen to your presentation of yourself. Hear your answers and make sure they are engaging, complete and concise. An interview is like a Broadway play –we know all of the lines (at least 95%) of them. We know what we will be asked.
Sample questions to consider: Why are you interested in this job? Company? Why have you made previous job changes? Be prepared for these types of questions plus all of the technical type of questions relating to your previous work experience.
In an interview, they are looking to have an active and engaging conversation. If you are not engaged, friendly or warm, those around you won’t respond in the same way.
Market Intelligence – One needs to review the prospective company’s website: learn their mission statement, who do they serve, who are their competitors? How do they differentiate from their competitors. Read the job description of your target position and also other postings on their website. What do they highlight as key characteristics for success and other commonalities to the postings. Review the job description and your resume(again) and make real correlations to your skills and their needs. Practice asking yourself relevant questions in this area. If the description talks about advance Excel or Word skills, don’t be surprised if a question comes up on the topic. With good preparation this will not be the first time you have answered this question.
Salary – Most people don’t like when the interviewer starts discussing salary. However, it is a question you should be prepared for. When first asked, it is best to answer that although salary is important, you are basing your decision on other factors as well. You are looking to leverage your knowledge and skills in an environment where you can become an integral part of the organization, add value and continue to develop. Of course you should expect a follow up question – “what does that mean?” Clearly they are looking for a number. Best thing to do is to reiterate that you are looking for the right opportunity and that if you had to give them some guidance, you have been interviewing for a position at $x or better. Never give a range with a cap; just a number and better ($75K and better). This way you are handling the question in a way that will keep the conversation going on and get back to the matter at hand – which are your skills.
Thank you – When finishing the interview, take steps to finish it as a regular business meeting. Thank them for their time in meeting with you, let them know you are interested and ask them if there is anything else you can share wit them to answer any questions they may have. A follow up a thank you note should also be sent out. The expediency in which a company is looking to make a decision could be a determining factor as to whether to send a note via email or regular mail.
Project EZRAH is continually working with members of our community who are unemployed and employed who are looking for better opportunities. We speak to receptionists, bookkeepers, accountants, doctors, lawyers etc. They turn to us to ask these types of questions and we are happy to help them get traction on their job search and become employed.
Project Ezrah will be having a more informative seminar highlighting additional job search pointers and information that can help you in your job search and interview preparation.
Wednesday September 10th
Please email [email protected] to RSVP and for location.
For employers – Please keep in mind there is no fee for posting on our job board and having us screen candidates for your review.
Jeff Mendelson – is currently the Director of Employment at Project Ezrah working to enable and provide strategy to your job search. Jeff has been an Executive Recruiter for 18 + years placing candidates with top tier companies in the tri-state area.
By Jeff Mendelson