Need Some Help Decoding The Hiring Process?

Need Some Help Decoding The Hiring Process?

When it comes to getting hired, the whole process can feel like a bit of a mystery. How, in fact, do you stand out from the crowd in that pile of resumes? Why does one person get noticed over any other person? And then if you do end up getting an interview, what about that process leads a hiring director to choose one person over another?

You’re not the only one who is confused. Most jobs get about 250 resumes per application, and hiring directors typically whittle that down to about six candidates. Once they do that, then it comes to in-person time and that’s really where you can find some tips to lead you to success in your next interview. For example, can you and do you make eye contact? Then that’s an automatic positive in the eyes of the person doing the hiring. What else can you do? This graphic has some ideas.


Prepping For The Second Interview

Prepping For The Second Interview

Congratulations! You aced your first interview! The first hurdle in the process is over. You gave great answers and they like you. Now they want you back for a second interview. Which is great, even if it means you have to go through the process of doing an interview again. It can be stressful, but you’ve gotten this far; you can do it!

The Difference Between the First and Second Interview

You might think the second interview will be similar to the first one, only with another person – a higher up person. However there are significant differences between the two. This isn’t going to be the same questions with someone new, and it’s most likely not going to be the same person–by themselves at least–with a couple extra questions. The second interview is all about getting to know you better. There will most likely be a couple of people interviewing you. Some may just sit and listen, some will ask pointed questions, and others might be your prospective co-workers. Your job for the second interview is to be ready for these questions and to demonstrate you’re serious about the position.

Know the Company and the Position

Before your first interview you hopefully looked into the company you’re applying for. Maybe you knew of them beforehand. Either way, now it’s time to really dig deep. Find out, not just about the company, but where it’s headed. What’s the most recent news about this company? Bring what you’ve learned into the conversation during the interview. Prepare ideas on what you would do in your role to help the company meet its goals.

Prepare for Harder, More Specific Questions

If you thought there were some tough questions in the first interview, get ready for more in the second. You’ve made it to the next phase of the selection process, so instead of seeing if you’re a better fit than most, your prospective employers are seeing what makes you a better fit over a handful of others. The best way to rise to the top is to be quick, concise, and articulate with your answers. According to an article about How To Prep For Second Interviews, from Forbes:

Be brief and concise in all your answers to questions. “Don’t ramble or go too off-topic,” says Annie Shanklin Jones, manager of IBM’s recruiting in the U.S. There’s no stopwatch running, but try to keep each response about two minutes or less.

You know the company, you know your position and you know what you would do if you got the job. Rambling can lead an interviewer to believe you are looking for an answer or are unsure of yourself. Quick, clear answers let interviewers know you are on top of your game.

Prepare Your Own Questions

Your interviewers have some new questions, and you should too! Make sure you aren’t asking the same questions you asked in the first interview. This is a great time to ask more in depth questions. Ask about the company’s goals. What is their five year plan? You can also ask about your position and how they’d like to see the position evolve. This ensures your interviewers know you’re thinking of your future with the company. If you’re not offered the job by the time you’re asking questions, ask what the next steps in the process are.

Final Thought on Preparation

You’ve come this far, so you know they’re interested. Project confidence that you are what they are looking for. Don’t try and change yourself, just be honest about who you are. Feel free to have a little small talk as well. More than likely a couple of the people you’re interviewing with are going to be co-workers, and they want to know that they’ll get along with their new hire. Be prepared, and before you know it, you’ll be at your new job!


Why You Need A Personal Mission Statement

Why You Need A Personal Mission Statement

Maybe you want to be an extraordinary sales person. Maybe you want to head an IT department, maybe you want to be everyone’s favorite airline attendant.  Before rushing headlong in pursuit of your ambition, make sure it’s something you would actually be happy doing.


Assess your strengths

To help you clarify whether or not this thing you want to do is actually something you can excel at, and something you’ll enjoy doing long term, you should start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What do I most enjoy doing?
  2. If I could have any job in the world what would it be?
  3. If money was out of the equation what would I choose to be doing?
  4. What do I excel at?

Hopefully you can use the answers to these questions to determine the right direction for your life. You want to find something you’re motivated about committing yourself to.


Ask yourself where you want to be in five years. In ten years. What kind of people do you most admire? Who would you like to emulate?


Create a personal mission statement

Creating a personal mission statement will help ensure this plan you have for what you want to do actually jibes with the things you find important in life. If you want to be an entrepreneur, but you also want to be home for dinner every night, with defined hours so you can pursue extracurricular activities, you’re going to run into some problems.


Your mission statement should be a clear description of your end goal and the person you intend to be in the process of accomplishing it.  For example, you might say. “I intend to be the most successful salesperson in the North East. I will accomplish this through my intense focus on customers, my infectious positive attitude and my continuing efforts towards self improvement.”


Use the mission statement to constantly asses how your actions and interactions measure up to your stated goal.


Define long term and short term goals

Don’t simply think of this as a wish-list of things you’d like to accomplish. Think of yourself in terms of resources (time and energy) that can be allocated in different directions to achieve your objectives. How do you maximize each of those resources in pursuit of those goals? What unique talents can you bring to a situation that will lead to successful results? If you don’t feel like you already have that unique talent, what will you do to create it?


Your talents will be put to best use when you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses then use what you learn to get really good at doing something you really like.

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

There are all kinds of reasons that interviews don’t go well. Sometimes it’s as simple as you weren’t the best candidate for the position. However sometimes you were the best person for the job. You missed out because you were too nervous to present yourself in your best light. Or you weren’t able to convey just how perfect you were to the interviewer.

Let your power shine through

Let’s start with the nervous part. Most of us get nervous in competitive or stressful situations. But there are ways of tricking your body into actually feeling more confident. It’s all about creating a feeling of power and strength within yourself. You can do that with power poses. Striking a pose of power and holding it.

For example, before the interview, stand like Wonder Woman. Feet apart, hands on your hips, chin up. Take up space, breathe in and hold. You will start feeling more confident.

Or stand like a star athlete. Feet apart, arms above your head, fingers spread wide – like you just won the race of your life and hold.

Amy Cutty who has a Ted Talk online about how our body language shapes who we are talks about studies that have demonstrated the benefits of standing like a super hero. Testosterone increases significantly cortisol drops, people feel ready to take on more risks, their pain threshold his higher. They also think more abstractly and are more likely to do well in stressful situations – like job interviews.


Move from the general to the specific

While preparing for an interview people will often go online to research the sorts of questions they will be asked. Then they memorize the best way to answer them. The problem with that is they come off sounding rehearsed and mechanical in the interview.


The interviewer doesn’t want to hear the perfect answer to a question. They want to hear your answer to the question. That means read how you should answer the question then create an answer based on your experiences and qualifications.


Why are you perfect for the position?

You might not get asked this question specifically, but ultimately every question you are asked is working toward answering it. Think about your motivations, your strengths, your values, your personality. Bring those into every answer. Come up with examples from your life and your experiences. Make it personal. The more personal you make it the more confident you’ll sound.


You look confident, you sound confident. If you’re a perfect fit for the job, the interviewer will know it.

“Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?”

“Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?”

There are all kinds of reasons to leave a job. A better opportunity comes along. You’re looking for a better opportunity. You’re not happy with the direction the company’s going. You want to take your life in a different direction. The list goes on and on. Eventually you will find yourself explaining the reasons for why you left or why you are leaving your current job to a prospective employer.

They will want to know several things about why you left/are leaving. Did you leave to pursue something else? Were you just tired of your job? Did you leave voluntarily? Did you leave on good terms? What are your work values?

Remember your prospective employer is looking for someone who’s going be loyal and responsible. Ensure your answer demonstrates integrity and forward thinking.

Professional growth

Maybe you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can in your present situation. You are looking for more challenges, or more responsibility. In that case, talk about how you contributed to your current organization (with quantifiable examples) and how you excited you are to learn and grow in this new position.

“I’ve been in my present job for the past four years. I became a department lead after fourteen months and helped implement a new distribution process that increased the speed of product delivery by 10%. I’ve been department manager for the last year. As much as I enjoy my job and the people I work with, I feel like I’ve learned everything I can in my current position and am ready to take on new challenges. The job you are offering appeals to me because of the scope of your operations.”

Always make it about moving toward a better opportunity. Keep your answer positive. Sometimes your situation is a little more negative, like your current position is being eliminated or the company is going out of business. It’s still important to stay positive in your answer. Talk about your successes and accomplishments and then briefly say that due to unfortunate economic downturn the company had to downsize. Downsizing is something everyone can relate to, especially if you were not the only person affected.

Change of direction

You have re-evaluated your present circumstances and have decided it’s time to change direction. Your life goals or career goals have changed and you are excited to pursue a new direction. Make sure you explain how this new opportunity is a good fit with your goals and how you can successfully use your skills in this new job.

Always stay positive

You may actually have negative reasons for leaving a job, like problems with management personality or style. You simply don’t like the job or were passed over for promotion too many times. No matter how negative your experience was, focus on what was positive. What you learned, what you contributed and move on to growth opportunities.

On To The Second Round Interview

On To The Second Round Interview

For some jobs you’ll have a single interview and you’re in! Others require a more in depth interview process. When called in for a second interview keep these things in mind.


Different perspectives

You’ve been called back in because the organization wants to find out a little more about you. They want to get the perspective on prospective candidate from other people in the company before making a final decision.


You may have to answer the same question more than once

If you are being interviewed by numerous people, they may all sit in on the interview at once. Or they may decide to interview you separately. If they do come in one at a time it’s important to be as focused and invested with the second or third person as you are with the first.


If you hear the same question, keep the answer in line with what you’ve said before. Remember this is a different person. They haven’t heard your answer yet, but also see if you can add something of interest to this specific person in your answer.


For example, for someone from the marketing department you may concentrate your answers on presentation skills, whereas if you’re talking to someone from sales you may want to concentrate more on concrete nuts and bolts talk.


Keep track of who you’ve met

If you are being interviewed by more than one person, be sure to take note of the name and position of each person you speak to, so you can refer back to them knowledgeably later in the interview. You certainly don’t want to say something like Um that person who came in here second – the one wearing the blue suit.


Imagine yourself already in the position

Now that you’ve been called in for a second interview, people are already imagining what you would be like in the position. Prepare for this interview by thinking about what you bring to this job, what you would do, your vision for the position, for the company. Talk like you’re already there. I will do this. I see opportunity for that.


Verbalize your enthusiasm for the position

If you weren’t excited about this job you wouldn’t be sitting there in the interview, right? Not necessarily. Some people interview to see what’s out there. They practice interview. They interview in different places to find the best fit. Even if your interest seems obvious to you, make sure you tell the interviewer how you feel. I am excited about the opportunity to work here. I look forward to hearing back from you!