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.
Lesson #1 – Don’t burn bridges
We’ve talked about how important it is to make a good first impression. True. But what about after the interview? Your job is certainly not done once you walk out of those doors.
I recommend a personalized note. At the very least (or in addition), send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for the opportunity, telling them how excited you are about the possibility of working together and that you are looking forward to hearing back from them soon.
In the case of Episode 8, TFS Investments CEO, Terance Frazier, had a tough choice between two qualified candidates. In the end, he chose one, who unexpectedly quit after a week and a half. The second candidate made such a great impression in the interview and was so grateful (even when she did not get the job) that it was easy for the CEO to call her back and make the hire.
Lesson #2 – There is a difference between being humble and just being too honest
In Episode 9, the Two Maids & A Mop founder was seeking an Operations Manager. One of the primary qualifications was comfort level in speaking in front of large groups. Public speaking is certainly one area where confidence can be lacking; however, one specific candidate disqualified themselves from consideration by basically telling the employer that they would not be able to do it.
While I think it is always important to be honest in an interview, there is a way to do it that shows humility and a willingness to do things outside of one’s comfort zone.
How about this instead…“Public speaking is not one of my strengths but I continue to work at it and improve every chance I get. If given this opportunity, I have full confidence that I will prepare myself fully to be comfortable in my first presentation to the group.” This shows honesty and integrity and a desire to grow and expand one’s capabilities. Employers don’t often expect you to be perfect, but they do want you to strive to be the best you can be.
Lesson #3 – Money Talk
Talking money and salary negotiations can become awkward and unsettling on both sides. This is why you should never break up the positive vibes of an interview with a question about money. First of all, it is jumping way ahead and it presumes that an offer is on its way. Put on the brakes. If the employer wants to ask you about salary range, that is a great sign. This means they have moved you over in their mind as a potential fit.