Two candidates walk in for a job interview. Candidate One knows that the interviewer used to work for a rival agency. Candidate Two doesn't.
During the interview, Candidate One engages the interviewer with questions about the company's strategy to compete with their rival agency. Candidate Two is equally as qualified, but comes off as generic. The interviewer offers the job to Candidate One, and Candidate Two goes home fruitless.
The truth is, if a hiring manager calls you in for an interview, they already believe you capable of doing the job. Your resume spoke to them on a technical level. It's the human element they're looking for. The interview is your one chance to leave a personable impression.
If you're not memorable, they won't call you back. A CareerBuilder study reported 75 percent of job applicants never hear back from an employer, and 60 percent of candidates never hear back after an interview.
Your job is to convince them you're someone they wouldn't mind seeing five days a week. You want to come off as someone who's not simply a good culture fit, but an individual who's thought about tangible contributions to improve the business as if you've already accepted the job.
These three tools will arm you with the knowledge you need to leave your interviewer with a lasting impression:
1. Clearbit Connect
You're interviewing for an HR position and the interviewer asks "What excites you about our company?" They expect to hear something generic. You think back to a specific blog post they shared on Twitter about the challenges of maintaining company culture while scaling a business.
You reply, "You've managed to both scale the business while staying true to your founding values, and that fascinates me." The answer stays relevant to the question but ties in a topic you know is of interest to the interviewer. Even better, you've demonstrated a match in values with the company.
What employers relish is a good fit. You need to be a good fit for the company, but for the long term, they need to be a good fit for you. Social media is a convenient way of finding out which values and interests of yours overlap with the interviewer, so you can demonstrate that you're a good match.
Clearbit Connect lets you see all of a person's social media accounts in one place directly through Gmail. From one email, you can investigate your interviewer's social media persona, look for commonalities, and turn shared points of interest into talking points during the interview.
Say you've been emailing HR and don't have the hiring manager's contact information. Connect also provides you the entirety of a company's email directory and allows you to search by name and job title. Once you know who you'll be interviewing with, search for their name in Connect to find their email and take a look at their social media.
During the interview, you get a question about what kind of contributions you could bring to the table. The more tangible your answer, the more memorable you'll be. You need to sound focused and informed.
You find a problem the business faces, and address it with an actionable solution. Your answer: "I've noticed your competitor's monthly web traffic has increased from 800,000 unique visits to over 1.3 million in 2 months. Here's my plan to drive that kind of traffic to your site, in less time."
Employers are looking for demonstrable achievement. They're less interested in titles. The titles on your resume got you in the interview room, but you need to show you can accomplish things and that you'll continue to do so. Use information about the company to illustrate your concrete ability to get things done.
Mattermark supplies you with company statistics so you can confidently answer specific questions. Search a company by name, and you'll be able to see their Mattermark Growth Scores, Mattermark's trademark method of ranking business growth, involving stats like employee count, unique website visits per month, and funding. All useful information to stay on the same page as the interviewer.
Showing you're a good fit is more than just amicability. If your responses are informed by real data and address actual issues, hiring managers will pick up on your initiative in figuring out the company's situation. Responses tailored to the business that tackle higher levels of complexity display a serious attitude about bettering the company, something highly attractive to interviewers.
Sometimes a successful first round isn't enough. Google will vet a person for weeks before allowing an intern to become full-time. But if you have an idea what the entire interview process looks like, you'll be prepared for all the lunches to come.
Foresight into how an interviewer operates will make you ready for the kind of curveball thinking you'll need to beat riddles like"Estimate the bandwith needed if you built an optical fiber connection to a colony on Mars."
Find out exactly who, and what, you'll be facing on Glassdoor. Search for your company and read reviews from people who've already been through the interview process. Insights from people who've already interviewed will help you prepare in advance for the kind of questions the hiring manager might ask you. You'll also have an idea of how many people you'll talk to and under what circumstances.
If you seem at ease throughout the duration of the interview process, an employer will notice. Reviews will give you an idea of the interview structure, so you'll be on point for multiple rounds and meeting different managers. If you consistently engage multiple people and maintain conversations of substance, a hiring manager can't help but think you're a natural fit. If you seem ready for every stage of an interview, you'll seem ready to dive in to work.
Before the interview, use these three tools and go into detective mode. Find out exactly what you're up against and who you need to impress. The more you know about who you're meeting, the higher the chance you'll leave an impression of compatibility and commitment.
If you prepare for the human element, you'll be sure to win on interview day. Do your people research and the job will be yours.