October 24, 2023

Cracking the Career Code: How to Land and Prepare for a Job Interview


Episode Highlights

How to discover companies you want to work for


Why you should consider partnering with an agency recruiter


How to prepare for an interview


Common types of interview questions


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In this episode of Cracking the Career Code, Matt and Kierra discuss what candidates can expect in a typical interview process and how to prepare. They share how job seekers can find roles they’re interested in applying to and the benefits of partnering with an agency recruiter. If you’re curious about the types of questions you’ll be asked, how you should answer, and ways to make your strengths shine brighter than other candidates, tune in to learn more!

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Cracking the Career Code with Matt and Kierra, where we provide candidates the keys to success in their job search. And today we’re going to be discussing what to expect in interview processes and how to prepare for those. So, Kierra, I know you were recently job searching yourself so you can probably provide some personal insights into this, but of course, we help candidates with their interviews all the time, day in and day out as Hirewell recruiters.

So yeah, tell me a little bit about how you prepared for your interviews recently. Yeah. Yeah, so I think the first step was finding out what I wanted to do. I was having a transition from teaching to recruiting, so I needed to know exactly what I was going to be doing and what I wanted to do. I think that helps a lot with narrowing down your search.

If you’re searching for multiple different roles, that could be a good fit, I think that just is overwhelming. And it’s hard to really hone down on what it is that you’re interested in, what you would excel at. So, I decided I wanted to go into recruiting. How’d you decide that though? Yeah. So I started following recruiters on LinkedIn and then I did some research into what the job entails and I felt that a lot of my skills were super transferable.

So, I thought it would be a good fit ,sales position, it also is like a competitive type of role and I feel like I’m a competitive natured person. So that’s kind of how I came about that. Was there a second option that you were considering over recruiting? There was. I thought about customer success roles too, and inside sales roles.

So there was actually an inside sales role that was with an educational company that I was interested in, but, I was moving. So it didn’t work out, as far as location wise. But yeah, so I honed down in that. And then from there, I just did research on what the role entailed, how my skills would be transferable, so that I could leverage that in a job search.

Yeah. And then went to refining my resume, and then started looking for companies that I wanted to work with. Awesome. Yeah. So, you know, what I’m hearing is like, definitely decide the type of roles or industries that you want to apply to, do some research on what it takes to get into that field, whether your career pivoting or you’re like looking for the next step in your career, right?

Do your research. So, any tips for candidates like, once they decided, here’s the roles I want to start applying to, like, what should I do before I get into that first interview? I would make sure that you know the company is the right fit culturally, and technology wise, and it’s somewhere that you want to be.

How would you find that kind of stuff out? Yeah, I would look at their LinkedIn. I would look up Glassdoor Reviews. I would look at their website. And I would reach out and ask people at the company how it is working there and if they have any advice on getting their foot in the door. That’s where I would start. What about you?

Yeah, that’s definitely a good thing that I suggest to all job seekers, doesn’t matter their career path at all, or what their profession is. Just always try and find people on LinkedIn that work at a company you’re interested in. And see if you can send them a connection request with a note and see if they’ll chat with you at all, so you can get some more insights on what it’s like to actually work there.

And you mentioned glass door reviews. I think those obviously always offer some valuable insights, but you got to take those with a grain of salt, right? Like the people most likely to write a review are those that had a bad experience with a company. So talking to someone that used to work there or currently works there, one on one, might give you a better perspective than just a disgruntled employee. Yeah.

And how would you find the companies that are hiring and how would you go about that process? Yeah, sure. So obviously job boards is the main way that we find jobs, in 2023, online. So Indeed, LinkedIn. There’s lots of specialty job boards for, you know, different careers. So, would look there. Obviously partnering with an agency recruiter is a great way to find opportunities that might not be posted publicly. They can get to know you, know what you want next in your career.

Where your skills align for certain types of roles and present you with options. So, definitely would reach out to recruiters and start building those relationships as well, when you start your job search. Yeah, and I know like we don’t post all of the jobs that we have, there’s actually multiple jobs that we’re working on, that we don’t have posted. So it’s always good to make those connections.

Or even refer friends. I’ve had so many referrals from people I’ve worked with in the past, and we’ve hopped on calls and they’ve been a part of my network. If I have something that opens up, I can ping them right away. So, I like that aspect of it too. As far as like when you land a interview, what would you do to take the steps to prepare for that?

Sure. Yeah. So, well, you mentioned it kind of already, like researching the company. If you have a job description, whether that’s like the job post or the recruiter you’re working with is able to share that with you. That’s definitely something that you want to research. On the topic of recruiters having roles or having roles available that, you know, might not be publicly posted, like, we’re not always going to be able to provide a job description for candidates to review, but definitely look at that.

Definitely prepare some success stories from your experience that might speak to some of the things that you would be doing in this job that you’re interviewing for. If you are working with a recruiter, like ask them for any insights that they might be able to share about who you’re meeting with, what their work style is, what kind of questions they might ask.

Obviously, if you’re not working with a recruiter, you’re going to have to kind of figure that out on your own. But, if you know the interviewer’s name, you can look them up on LinkedIn, maybe look at what school they went to or how long they’ve been at a company or, you know, other questions that you can just ask generally.

That’s another thing, is like, if you have some like really high level specific questions for or that could be applied to any company or any role that you’re interested in, those can be used if you don’t have a recruiter that’s prepping you for these interviews. Right. And when I was searching for a new role and got in the interview process, I looked at the profiles of the people that would be interviewing me, but I didn’t bring up anything that related to them because I was like, I didn’t want to be creepy or make it seem weird that I was bringing it up.

It’s not weird though, right? In reality, it’s really not weird. It just shows that you are interested and you’ve done your research and that you can relate to them. And it shows that you have taken the time to do what is necessary before the interview. So, highly, highly recommend doing that. Yeah. It’s on LinkedIn, like, it’s not weird to bring it up. Yep, I agree.

And as far as like the types of questions, I think there’s a variety of questions that you should prepare for, based on the job that you’re applying for and interviewing for. They have sample questions online and these are something that you can practice with a peer just to make sure that you’re ready for whatever comes your way, but I think it’s also important to prepare for situational and behavioral type questions.

Do you want to kind of go into like what types of things we’ve seen as far as situational and behavioral goes? Yeah, so you’re definitely going to see behavioral questions more often than situational questions. And those behavioral questions, they’re formatted, tell me about a time when and then insert whatever scenario is related to the job.

Like, that’s another key thing, is like, questions in an interview are 99% going to be job related. The distinction between a situational question and a behavioral question is the behavioral questions ask you to call on your past experience because that usually predicts future performance. Where situational questions that are worded like, what would you do if and then insert scenario, like anyone can give an interviewer like the response that they think they want in those type of questions.

So that’s why we see the behavioral ones more often than not. And then lastly, like technical questions. So anything that’s related to the role or the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are required. You know, you might get quizzed on whether you know certain terms or certain concepts or you know whatever technical skills are required for the job.

Yeah. And I think the behavioral piece is just to see if you’re a good culture fit. I mean, companies really want to see what you’ve done in the past for certain things. So, I think that’s why they’re asking you these questions and it’s something to think about in practice so that you have examples that you can give for those types of questions. Yeah, how you handle scenarios. Exactly. Exactly and then make sure that at the end of your interview you’ve got some good thoughtful questions to ask. This, you can get from your research when you’re looking at the role and the types of responsibilities you’ll have.

But I think that it’s important to come up with some really good questions, not just surface level, because it shows that you have an interest in the role, and that it is related to the role directly. Yeah. Yeah. Don’t ask about how much time off you get in the first interview, right?

Or like, you know, how good are the benefits? Like show that you’re interested first. The recruiter you’re working with or the internal HR team at the company you’re applying to, will answer all of that for you. You want to show more of your genuine interest in a role in a company. And like, you’ll get to the benefits and the time off policies, eventually.

Obviously you don’t want to be wasting your time with a company that’s not offering PTO, for example, but like, 90% of the roles will. So, just make them thoughtful about the company. Shows that you’re interested, shows that you really want the role, even if you have to, you know, zhuzh it up a little bit, and fake it till you make it. Yep. Nope. I agree.

Well, thank you so much for joining us today on Cracking the Career Code. Go check out talentinsights.hirewell.com for more content and follow us on LinkedIn, if you are not already. Thanks. Thanks, everyone.

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