I recently had a conversation in which I was discussing my 10+ years of experience in human resources management. It’s not something I talk about often these days, but it’s definitely a huge part of my life and career experience. During this conversation, the other person asked me, “what’s something that HR managers/hiring managers don’t want people to know?” Honestly, I can think of a few things that are considered to be on a “need to know” basis when it comes to recruiting and hiring, but thinking along the lines of my particular focus, what jumped to mind is this: they’re judging you. Not just your experience – YOU.
Optimally, and on the record, hiring decisions will be made on tangibles such as your resume and skill set. By the time you make it to the interview, though, you can pretty much presume that those things pass muster, especially if you’ve been pre-screened by phone. When you’re sitting in that interviewee seat, you are being judged on not only your experience and responses to the questions asked, but also how you look and speak – your overall presentation. In fact, you are being judged on those things from the time you walk through the door. Don’t underestimate the impressions you make on the receptionist or other staff members you may encounter prior to the actual interview. You never know how much input someone has. Put your best foot forward with everyone you see.
One buzzword that a lot of companies use is “fit.” They’re looking for someone who “fits” with their staff and company culture. I’m not necessarily a fan of this because finding the right “fit” can often translate to biased hiring; however, you will be judged on how well the interviewer thinks you will fit in with the company.
My point here is: don’t underestimate the importance of your presentation – both visual and verbal. Your manners, personality and conversation skills also come into play.
Bonus secret: sometimes people are brought in because the company requires that a certain number of people be interviewed for each position. Don’t rest on the quality of your resume to seal the deal. Of course your resume is important, especially these days when the candidate pools are so large, but once you get your foot in the door, make sure your shoe is polished – literally and figuratively! Stand out among the rest. Remember, you’re being judged.
Need help polishing your image and presentation skills for your job search? Contact me at email@example.com or 202.681.8598.
YOU are your brand. Represent!