After the initial pleasantries are exchanged, and before the real interview starts ask one question. That question should be “other than what is in the job description, are there any other skills or qualities you are looking for that could make a candidate stand out?”, or some variation of that. Job descriptions are usually recycled each time a position opens. Templates are used and only minor changes are made. There is always more than what is written in a job description. By asking this question in the beginning of the interview, you will know how to answer your questions. If your interviewer tells you that they are really looking for someone who can work independently, identify problems and implement new processes to improve those problems, use that to answer their questions.
Please stop thanking me. Lately I have noticed that candidates thank me for every question I ask.
Me- Can you tell about your interest in X position?
Candidate- That’s a great question, thanks for asking.
It wasn’t a great question. It’s pretty standard. Now you seem insincere. Thank your interviewer for calling you, thank them for their time at the end. Send a thank you note or email. Please don’t thank me for every single question I have asked. I don’t know why this one bothers me so much, but I cringe every time I hear it.
Be prepared! Do a ton of research on a company before your first interview. I can’t tell you how often people admit to not knowing what the company does. Find out about the person interviewing you. Maybe you went to the same school, or they worked for an interesting company or participated in awesome volunteer work. That information could give you an edge during your interview.
Interviewing isn’t easy. Find ways to prepare and make the process less stressful for yourself. The more interviewing you do the more comfortable you will be.
By Caitlin Mandeville | People Science Talent Advisor II