Owning and leading a business for over 14 years has taught me a thing or two about interviews and has certainly sharpened my intuition for picking the best candidates. During the 14 years we have hired over 150 people, interviewed around 1,000 people face to face and screened at least 5,000 candidates. So what has been so special about the 3% of people that have applied to us that we actually employed?
They were all awesome. In some way, and not always the same way, each of these people during their interviews were inspiring and you couldn’t help admiring them for their passion, aptitude, intelligence or ability to make an emotional connection. From my experience, this happens in the first couple of minutes of the interview, that spark is instantly recognisable and makes you want to hire the person on the spot.
So what do you do to show that spark? Here are things I look for in people:
- Be passionate – you can always tell when someone truly believes what they are talking about. The conversation is effortless, engaging and exciting. Don’t even think about trying to fake this one, you can pick a phoney out in 2 seconds here.
- Engage and connect – some companies target the right skills and experience, great companies target so much more. Your ability to engage and connect with the company, its way of doing business, and the culture within has to shine through in the interview. It is not enough just to tick the technical skills boxes to land a job in a great company.
- Own the role – Know that you are the right person for the role because you have taken the time to understand the company and what the role entails. Be prepared to communicate where you can add value in the role for the company and why this sets you apart from others. Also do the same with what the company has to offer you, a great job is a deal that has to be beneficial to both parties.
- Know your own brand – Do you know what you truly stand for? What is your uniqueness or awesomeness that helps define you and helps people recognise you in the industry?
Remember your awesomeness and ultimately your hireability comes down to your ability to communicate this so don’t be afraid to practice your pitch. If the interviewer has to go searching for this in the interview then your first 2 minutes is probably over and your chances of landing that dream job may have passed you by.
Please share your experiences in the comments, keen to hear what others think.
Feel free to send me an invite to connect at Simon Cohn.