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Don't Try to Help Me – I Know Better!

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by Liam Hassell

over 1 year ago

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To this day, I am astonished any time I come across a candidate, who after securing a client interview, will blatantly and, quite often, adamantly turn down the offer of helping them with their interview preparation. I don't know whether it's vanity or just supreme confidence; hey, maybe they've secured every job they've ever interviewed for, and that could be as many as five or six jobs, maybe. I have participated in thousands of interviews (quite seriously), many of which have been here at people2people assisting candidates and discussing job vacancies. 

These are often also with hiring managers, in the capacity of being a member of a panel interview or an experienced set of hands to help guide the process. I've always been a firm believer that advice is free, and, coming from an 'expert', or at least someone far more skilled or qualified than me in a particular field of expertise, then I'll take it.  From there, I can decide whether I choose to listen to it or not; that's my prerogative.  

But to not listen at all in the first place…well, I think that's just plain crazy! I'll be the first to admit much of what I cover is not reinventing the wheel, and, yes, I will tell you to 'arrive on time', 'dress appropriately' etc. etc.  What you probably don’t know is that my interview tips and preparation are tailored to you (the candidate), the specific job and the specific hiring manager(s) you're meeting. I start thinking about how to help candidates when I first meet them. Maybe it's something simple we can address, such as poor eye contact, a weak handshake or even the lingering smell of cigarettes.  

Maybe it's something a little more innate, like answering everything in hypotheticals, the 'low-talker' (any Seinfeld fans out there?), or the repeater (finishes your sentences for you repeating your words back to you).  These can take a little more time to work through, and roleplays usually help to draw the candidate's attention to them. When it comes to the job, you might read the position description thoroughly and understand all the requirement points exactly.  But did you know that for the hiring manager points 1 and 2 on a position description are critical, but 3 and 4 don't register at all?  To which points do you think they will focus their questions?  

On what will you spend your time focusing your preparation? What about the hiring manager themselves? Sure, you know they're the CFO.  Hell, there might even be a profile detailing their academic record and even their work history on the company's website.   

This might help.  Still, I'll bet it tells you nothing about their favourite sport, what team they follow and their two or three favourite questions to ask in every interview.  Imagine if you knew a curve ball was coming before it was pitched. That's advice I would gladly pay for, let alone receive for free! If you're dealing with a recruiter, it's common sense they want you to get the job.  

Not only that, they will do anything and everything they can to ensure you succeed.  Listen to them, please.  Maybe you take nothing away from the twenty or thirty minute conversation you have with them, but just maybe, upon reflection, that investment of time secured you the job. And if the recruiter you deal with doesn't provide this service, maybe it's time to find someone else who will really work to ensure your success and not just be an expert forwarder of emails and arranger of interviews and meetings.

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