Interviewing is about to take a little bit of a dip during the holidays, (but don’t stop applying! “ABA” – Always Be Applying), so it’s a good time to take stock of your interview techniques thus far and mesh it with some conventional wisdom out there to hone and be ready for the New Year.
I was lucky enough to moderate a panel of recruiters earlier this week for my alumni association where they ‘lifted the veil’ on recruiting practices and techniques as well as interview dos and don’ts.
It was real, candid, personal (and at times, funny!) and legit one of the most valuable networking events I’ve been to in awhile- and I’m not even looking for a job!
So, since not all of you went to Villanova University (hence not at this event), I’m going to share my top three takeaways from my turn as moderator at this event.
Without further ado:
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: I can’t overstate this enough – get out there and build a relationship or 12. It might take time for something to come to fruition, but remember that your network is a living, breathing thing that needs to be nurtured. Also make sure you keep the give:ask ratio high. If you keep that in mind above all else- that you offer as much if not more than you ask, it WILL come back to you.
THINK OUT OF THE BOX: Have you been beating your head against a wall, sending millions of apps into the ether with no response? Maybe you’re trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Interrogate the reality of the situation. Does your skill set remotely fit the job descriptions? Do a gut check here. Maybe it requires a different approach.
The other thing that came out here, and it’s something I advocate for with all my clients, is to take a multi-pronged approach. It is NOT about just applying via job boards and posts. As the recruiters corroborated, they have to post sometimes for legal reasons but are going with an internal person. So you need to go on coffee chats, info interviews, events, LinkedIN, networking groups, alumni associations. There are a plethora of resources out there- go and snag ‘em.
NUMBERS GAME VERSUS CURATED APPROACH: It depends on the industry and the position you are going for, but make sure you pay attention to this. Sometimes, it’s a sheer numbers game. An alum in the audience wanted to transition from accounting to sales for a vendor in financial services, so he made it a full time job- literally. He quit he job. He made a list of 200 companies. He called them all, followed up and got 100 responses, which turned into 50 interviews. He got 2 offers. Wham-o: CAREER CHANGE COMPLETE!
Other types of positions do not require such rigor in terms of numbers, but instead require a deep dive into the company’s mission/values/building relationships ahead of time./courting them department. You may just need to make a list of 10 companies and do a deep dive on them. This is also especially true for more senior positions (maybe less so for junior ones).
We talked about a ton. As moderator, I was having a ball listening to these deep perspectives. Point is- definitely make it a point to go to these kinds of events when you see them advertised through your school or another organization. To actually hear from recruiters and talk to them afterward when they have so much going on? Priceless.