A Recruiter’s Rules for Interviewing

By Vanessa Ihnot, Recruiter 

I have been recruiting for business positions at Marchex for two years, and I see many interesting candidates come through our hiring process. It’s exciting to be part of the mobile ad tech space, one of the fastest-growing industries today. Being in this field means we attract a lot of qualified, experienced candidates with excellent backgrounds.

But as a recruiter, I witness these same qualified candidates fumble great job opportunities – and it’s because of simple missteps during the interview process.

Below are a few insider tips for those looking to get an extra edge in the game. This is not ground-breaking information, but you’d be surprised at how often candidates overlook the basics.

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1.       Do your research. Study the company before the phone screen, and know the general pulse of the market. It is helpful to get an idea of who the interviewer is too, and LinkedIn is an easy way to learn about an interviewer’s role and background. Research also helps guide interviews effectively – you can spend time learning unpublished details about the opportunity instead of catching up on the Company 101. Most companies will make it easy for you to do this step. Many of the candidates I see have researched Marchex not only on our website, but on social channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Glassdoor.

2.       Define what you are looking for. Be prepared to tell the recruiter why you are interested in this particular role, and how your specific experience relates. “Gaining industry experience” and “career growth” are not sufficient answers. Dig deeper. Take the time to list out what types of work you enjoy and what specific goals you have for your next role. All this will come in handy even if you are not asked the questions directly.

3.       Be forthcoming and honest. Your resume should reflect your actual work experience. Remember that if you get the job you will be held accountable. If you have never looked at SQL, don’t position yourself as an SQL expert. Also, let the recruiter know early in the process if something will come up on your reference check, or if you do not have experience in a required area. Self-awareness and honesty go a long way.

4.       During the interview:

a.       Make eye contact and offer a firm hand shake.
b.      Use examples when answering questions. Be specific.
c.       Ask questions. Make sure to get a feel for the company culture and what it takes to succeed in a role, but go a step beyond. What is the business model? Where is the company going? Have at least one question prepared for every interviewer that is unique to their position. Questions not only reflect your research and experience, but also deepen your understanding of the role and whether it is a good fit for you. Always remember – YOU are interviewing the company just like they are interviewing you.

5.       Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Get a business card with every interviewer, or ask the recruiter for everyone’s contact information. Whether you get offered the role or not, a thoughtful follow-up email (or card for extra credit!) can go a long way and make a lasting impression. Even if you are not hired the first time, you may be a fit in the future. Ending on a strong note can create new opportunities.

6.       Be patient.  This one might be a little selfish.  But keep in mind that recruiters are busy people too, and that sometimes they are wrangling information internally.  As fast as both you and the recruiter want to go, sometimes there are things out of your control, and out of the recruiter’s control.  So please be patient.  And keep following up!

Recruiters love talking to great candidates and want to help you present yourself in your best light; they want your experience and initiative to shine. By remembering and doing even these simple things, you are allowing your hiring manager and team to better appreciate why YOU are the one for the job.

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- Vanessa

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