When we started this series we opened by emphasizing the importance of picking the right jobs to seek. Rather than applying online for 10 jobs per week (only 15% of jobs available are online), why not target three, learn everything about the company we could, and pursue the positions with a high probability of actually winning a job offer for a position we would like to have.
Minute 2 takes a huge leap forward after we have applied for a job, been selected for a screening interview, passed it, scheduled a face-to-face sit-down to actually present our skills and answer the question, “So what make you think you are actually qualified for this job?” We have arrived at the office, hotel or training facility of the company offering the position. Historically all candidates are placed into a “bull pen” where they await their call to the interview. Squaring oneself up is huge in winning any challenge as well as any job offer.
Minute 3 is what I call “The Walk of the Gangplank.” As a candidate is met by the hiring manager and begins her/his walk to the interview room, there is an opportunity to “chit chat.” We choose to use this time to ask candidates open ended, thought provoking questions like, “How are you today?” and my personal favorite, “How was your flight in?” I used these ice breakers to allow the candidate to seize the opportunity to say something brilliant to let me know they were really engaged and prepared to show me they were the top prospect for this position.
Most only answered the question at hand, “Fine and how are you?” or “A little bumpy but OK.” They had passed a golden opportunity to tell me they were “Eager to discuss this position because they were totally matched to the job” or that “They had prepared for this interview and were ready to share some excellent ideas on how we could improve departmental productivity.” One candidate even said, “How was my flight here? It was fine, but not nearly as good as my flight home will be since I will end up your top candidate and win a job offer.” Amazingly hiring managers begin the actual interview with the handshake and walk to the interviewing room. We are interviewing at the first moment we meet you.
When candidates also begin the interview with something special, they often win the interview and job offer before they go back to the airport. Managers are always looking for candidates who stand out above the average interviewee and put much stock into the ever important first impression. My advice to candidates…..be ready to sell from the “gangplank” in. Do your homework, have a brilliant opening, smile, have fun, and be ready to go from the opening bell. Candidates own the interview.