Contact: Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer
Often when you have a job interview, you have to meet with HR first. As a former staffing manager for a Fortune 500 company, and a career and job coach, I have seven insights to share about what HR is thinking as they interview you. Knowing these will help make your interview with HR count.
1. How prepared are you? We hope you did not only check our website.
The last thing that Human Resources wants to hear is you asking us how many employees we have or what states we are in, since you can easily find that information online. Before you go to an interview, learn something about us – our products, our history and our challenges, and apply that knowledge to formulate thoughtful questions or ideas. Asking for information that can be easily found on our website will ensure you will sink to the bottom of our list and may not even make it to the next step.
2. Do you have all your reference information?
Before the interview, check that the contact information for your references is current and that your references will speak well about you. Bring a copy of your resume and references to the interview. Don’t just assume that your references will speak well about you … ask them and only include those references who you are certain will give you a positive referral. Really! As a Staffing Manager, I called references many times only to have them tell me that they did not recommend the person I was calling about.
3. How will you conduct yourself on the interview?
First, be on time. Get directions ahead of time and give yourself extra time for traffic. Arriving late to an interview gives a bad first impression. Second, turn your cell phone off. And third, dress for success. I can’t emphasize this last point enough. One of the biggest turnoffs to any interviewer is a job candidate who is not well groomed (dirty clothes, hair not combed), has on a lot of cologne or perfume, or who dresses inappropriately (pants falling down, cleavage showing, etc.). If you don’t impress us, you may not make it to an interview with the hiring manager.
4. Do you respect us and our department?
Treat your interview with HR with as much importance as you treat your interview with a hiring manager. Often, candidates assume HR does not matter as much and rush through the HR interview since they won’t be reporting to us. This is a bad assumption to make. Many hiring managers ask HR to help them make hiring decisions. There are two good reasons for this: one; HR generally has more experience doing interviews and making hiring decisions, and two; HR looks for whether a job candidate is a good fit with the company culture and will work well the team. When there are several job candidates who are competent to do the job, fit and teamwork can be deciding factors and HR may be called on for their opinion.
5. Will you contribute positively to our culture? Or will you be a drag?
If you are asked, “Why are looking for another job?” don’t badmouth your former company, boss or peers. HR professionals have been trained to be good listeners so you may be tempted to unburden your soul about how you got passed over for promotion by someone who can’t do the job or tell us about your boss who is the company bully, but don’t go there. If you do, we may peg you as a chronic complainer or someone who doesn’t “play well with others.”
6. Are you going to be honest about your weaknesses?
We are impressed if you can tell us about a failure that you learned from. It shows self-awareness, humility and the ability to learn and grown. But just because we nod and smile, don't go on to confess that you have trouble staying organized (especially if organizational skills are needed for the job you are applying for), or you have a hard time getting to work on time (no kidding, I have heard that one way too many times), or that you don’t have any weaknesses (because then we will view you as arrogant, unaware or defensive).
7. Will you follow up properly or at all?
Send a follow-up letter, not just to the hiring manager, but to HR as well. Bring up something we talked about when we met to show that you paid attention, briefly reiterate how you can add value in the job, and tell us why you want to work for our company. Following up with everyone you interviewed with, including HR, may give you the competitive edge over someone else.
Follow these seven tips and make your interview with HR a success!
Tell me, how have your interviews with HR gone? What have you learned from them?
This post is a guest post written by Judy Lindenberger, who can be found at www.lindenbergergroup.com
Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer