Therese Boldt, Career Coach - In a tough economy like the one we are currently experiencing across the country, it is very likely that you will not have the luxury of interviewing for a great number of positions. Given this fact, it is extremely important to make every interview experience count. How can you do that? Be prepared. Know what to expect, and be ready to interview with confidence.
The following paragraphs are excerpted from my soon-to-be-released book, "Yes! You can Land a Job Even in a Crummy Economy."
An Outside Recruiter
If you are meeting with a recruiter, realize that this person is given the responsibility of weeding out people who are not qualified, so that the hiring manager is spending his or her valuable time interviewing only candidates who are likely to be a fit. So a recruiter will ask many questions like those you would encounter from an internal HR person: What have you done? Where have you worked? What are your skills? Your answers to these questions will allow them to visualize you "doing" the job.
Additionally, recruiters ask questions of candidates to learn about them on a broader scale. They do this in order to potentially consider a candidate for other openings they themselves may be trying to fill (or openings they anticipate trying to fill). Let them know all the things you can do and are willing to do, so they can consider you for more than just one opening.
Interviewing with Human Resources
Normally, HR is most concerned with what I'll call "matching". HR wants to know if you have the requisite experience, the education, the skills and the ability to fit within their culture. Their first goal is to verify that the information that attracted them to your resume is true and complete. You'll find their questioning following a more linear path. For instance: "Tell me about your experience", "What did you do here?", "What did you do there?", etc. They will focus on "what". They will also spend time on "why" - primarily as they relate to your departures from and arrivals at various positions. For more evolved HR representatives, you'll be asked more than the typical clear-up-any-red-flag-area types of questions. These folks have learned about behavior-based questions, and they will use them to get deeper into their understanding of the candidate:
Interviewing with a Line Manager
When you meet with typical line managers, they - like HR - will be interested in your ability to complete the task at hand. You will hear questions like:
"Can you do this job?"
"Where have you done this sort of job before?"
"When you did this job before, just how did you do it?"
"Who else did this job with you?"
Their questions will tend to be more specific, because they most likely were promoted to their job from the one you are applying for. So the questions they will ask will allow them to visualize how easily you will fit into their "line", so to speak.
Interviewing with Your Potential Next Boss
In my recruiting experience, I placed executive secretaries who support CEOs, Presidents, CFOs, COOs… top level executives. When the executive secretary meets with this individual, nine times out of ten, she tells me in the debrief following the interview, "you know, he never asked me any questions!" You might think this is crazy for the top level executive to not ask questions, but remember, he or she for the most part is relying on his or her staff (HR, line managers, etc.) to determine capability. The executive, the president, the principal is more interested in the fit from a chemistry and cultural perspective.
Interviewing With your Peers
Many companies like to include the people with whom you will work in the interview process. These companies either want to promote a sense of involvement on the part of the team or they want the team to flush out issues that have gone unresolved in the mind of the hiring manager. Those companies who are engaging the team to foster an atmosphere of involvement look for feedback after the interview from peers that tells whether or not you will blend easily with the team. I would recommend that you recognize that getting too familiar with your potential peers can spell disaster. You are still interviewing, so remember that even your peers are scrutinizing you.
As you see, there are a number of individuals with whom you may meet as you look for a job, and each of these players in the game of job search have many different styles, motives and functions. Knowing who you will meet with can enhance the odds that you will leave the interview with an offer.
For more on interviewing contact Therese: http://meettherese.com/