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CNBC’s The Job Interview- Reality Check (Week 3 & 4)

By Keith Lechwar, Vice President of Operations

The Job Interview is a reality program airing on Wednesdays at 10p on CNBC where actual companies bring in 5 real candidates for final interviews for a position with their company. Tough questions and bad answers make for entertaining TV, but our goal as a recruiting firm is to guide you through those difficult questions and unexpected situations with real-world advice.

This week, CSI Search Executive Recruiter Kara O’Donoghue and I talk about two specific moments from Episodes 5 and 6 and give our advice. (Check out our video blog here or below)

Lesson #1 – Learn From Mistakes

“Name a time you screwed up.” What a loaded question! But it is a great question that provides insight into the candidate on two levels. #1 – Are they humble and forthright? #2 – How did they handle the situation and did they fix the problem? There is so much to gather from one simple question. In the case of one candidate in Episode 5, SwimKids owner Dave Tonnesen asked this question to a candidate with drastic results. In this case, the candidate was honest and humble but missed the point of why making a mistake is important – that you learn from it and take steps to keep it from happening again. (Watch the clip from Episode 5 here)

We all make mistakes. If you can’t think of one during the interview, then you may have a problem with #1 – being humble and honest. In advance of your interview, take some time to think of a situation where you made a mistake. Choose one that doesn’t seem too minimal – again this may give the idea that you don’t see yourself honestly. Then again, if your mistake cost the company millions and put them out of business, I might omit that from consideration.

The perfect answer should be an honest mistake with three major elements.

1. You acknowledged and ‘owned’ your mistake.
2. You immediately went to work to solve the problem or make amends.
3. You took steps to ensure the mistake never happens again.

Lesson #2 – Know your Craft

Are you going in for an accounting interview? You better be able to read a P&L. Or, let’s say you are applying for a social media director position. I hope you are ready to show your creative ideas and strategies for how you would create buzz for the company. In interviews, you should expect that you will be given real-world scenarios and asked to think on the fly. The interviewer is not only looking to see if you have the basic skills required for the job, but they may also be evaluating how confident you are and how you deal with high-pressure situations. In Episode 6, the founders of Mia Aesthetics, a plastic surgery firm based out of Miami, did just that. Seeking a social media director, they asked candidates to show their creativity on the spot by having them create captions and taglines for specific images. (Watch the clip from Episode 6 here)

These scenarios are more common than you think and they help avoid a situation where a person impresses in the interview but falls flat on the job.

You can’t ‘fake it til’ ya make it.’ If you are a qualified applicant with the right skillset for the job, you have nothing to worry about. Just stay calm and embrace the opportunity not just to show the interviewer that you know your stuff, but what an awesome opportunity to impress them!

Contact Us to learn how we can help you fill that open position or find that perfect job opportunity.  Or, let us know what you think!  Respond with your feedback from the show!

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