A job interview is a mating ritual to learn as much about the other person as possible in a short period of time to decide whether a match can be made.
Candidates should prepare by knowing what they want and being able to answer some basic questions. Candidates are selling themselves.
Today my daughter Marissa is attending the first of many career fairs offered at Washington University’s Olin School of Business. She loves the MBA program she just started but she says that at the bottom line it is a two year job search. The first year is spent learning how to be a good candidate (along with the business fundamentals she came to study of course!) with the goal a great summer internship. The second year emphasis is finding a great job after graduation.
Over the last six weeks since she started she has worked on her resume, selected her major, and worked on numerous group projects while learning leadership and get-along skills necessary as a business leader. They even have a get-along scorecard!
Today is the first job fair in the first year ritual. Recruiters are flying in from all over the company. Marissa and her colleagues have done the research and are all prepared. Butterflies abound. Marissa got her unruly hair blown out and picked out an awesome outfit that makes her feel confident.
She even created some opening questions designed to make her interesting to recruiters. Her question is, “What advice would you give to someone who has had a non-traditional career?” She is confident that the concept of “non-traditional” will be irresistible to recruiters who will say, “What do you mean by non-traditional?” and get the conversation started.
After all, this mating ritual is about building relationships. Hiring decisions should be made based on the candidate’s match with competencies and skills to be successful in the job. But the first step is to get someone to notice you so you can build the relationship that allows the hiring manager to access whether you can do the job.
Marissa has plenty of competition from her classmates for the available positions. To differentiate herself she created a way to get attention with an interesting opening question and a great outfit that makes her feel confident.
What do you do to differentiate yourself from the competition? What is your interesting opening question that makes you stand out from the crowd so you get to the next step?