One of the perks of being a recruiter is meeting lots of new people, lots of new conversations and ideas sharing, it’s fantastic! But the ONE thing that consistently comes up in my conversations with potential candidates before their onsite interview is “So what are they really looking for, what does a successful interview mean?” Well, there are many competencies that would make for a successful interview but in my opinion three really stand out and that is what I advise candidates on.
First is Technical Strength. This is the skill that you will use every day to do your job and it is the first thing that is evaluated. It is the know-how and the understanding of your body of work; the better the quality, the more successful you are. For example, simple, clean, optimized code is desirable, so you don’t have to use ALL your knowledge to writes pages of it to be successful. (Yes: you can probably tell, I am a technical recruiter. J)
Second is Problem Solving. While this may sound cliché, you have to realize that companies do not get ahead if they aren’t solving the right problems for their customers, providing the right solutions for their client. Be it retail, software, food, telecom, the list goes on. Now this is a tough one because it is hard to exhibit problem solving in the hour or so that you get during an interview with one interviewer. I agree that it takes an extended period of time working alongside to prove this ability but the good news is that there is a way you can exhibit this quality, it’s called “Approach.” The way you approach a given problem, situation or idea is the start of your problem solving, the more thoughtful and well laid out the structure, the better your chances of impressing the person across the table. Starting with data gathering is the first step, you may or may not have the entire information needed to solve the problem (the caveat is that this may be intentional or unintentional, and there may or may not be more information), but if you don’t ask you will not get it. So don’t hesitate to ask! Now the second step is analyzing the problem, most of us do it in our heads and like to just deliver the solution, remember this is all about approach so the interviewer wants to “see” that analysis process. Walk them through it, be vocal, weigh the possibilities out aloud and then settle on one solution that seems best to you and then only should you implement the solution. This way, you are exhibiting the ability to see the big picture, your knowledge base and the ability to make a decision. Sounds simple enough but believe me when it comes to actually carrying out this “operation” most people jump into delivering the solution right away.
The third for me is Passion. And frankly many people roll their eyes when they hear the word “Passion,” (maybe because it’s been overused) the first reaction I get is “that’s so HR.” J True, true but look at organizations/products around you and notice that the more successful ones are the ones that have passionate people behind them. You might be passionate about the product/offering, the industry, the company or the technology, but the key is to exhibit that passion in your conversation. It’s not a “fake it till you make it” thing. Either you have passion or you don’t. If you are passionate about any part of the work that you do, would like to do, then definitely don’t hold it back. Bring yourself to the table!
Again, this is my individual opinion, based on my experience of many years and for you these are merely suggestions, perhaps filters that you can use in your next interview conversation. You may choose to use all, some or none of these but just remember your interview is your day to show up so be there with bells on! All the best!