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How to Get Hired March 10, 2010

Posted by dantemurphy in building a team.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of interviewing lately (business is good), and one thing I’ve observed is that many people do not do a very good job of selling themselves.  Since I would hate to miss out on a talented recruit, I’ve put together some simple things a candidate can do that I’ll remember…in a good way.  These aren’t the only things one should do to prepare for interview…with me or anyone else, for that matter…but I think they’re pretty essential.  I’d even dare to call them obvious…if more people did them, that is.

1. Take notes. And for God’s sake, bring your own paper and pen. (Bonus points if it’s a Livescribe.) Even if you have a photographic memory…or are wearing a wire…show me that you’re paying attention. This is especially relevant when you ask me a question, and I answer it. If you really cared what the answer was, wouldn’t you write it down?

2. Do your research. Tell me what you know about the company, the business, or the job. Unless a recruiter chloroformed you and brought you in with a bag over your head, you know the company and the job description, right? Tell me what it means to you, and why you’re interested. I promise to return the favor.

3. Converse. I don’t want a sales pitch, a stand-up routine, or 53 minutes of ass-kissing. I want to know who you are, what’s important and interesting and challenging to you. I want you to ask me “why”, to disagree with or challenge something I say…to have a PULSE. There’s a lot of work to do, and I would much rather do it with someone I like and respect than Billy Mays, Jerry Seinfeld, or Ed McMahon.

4. Draw something. Sure, your portfolio is fabulous (you did bring one, didn’t you?), but let’s see how you work. I don’t care what you draw, and there are no style points on a whiteboard. But until an idea is represented visually, it’s not tangible.

5. Follow up. A brief thanks is appreciated, but what really gets my attention is when someone says “I picked up that book you mentioned” or “here’s that article we talked about”. This is the kind of rapport I have with my colleagues…and you want to be one, don’t you?

Of course, you do still have to be smart, and passionate, and capable of doing the work…and if you are, these are the ways I’m going to get the whole picture…not by reading your resume. That only gets you in the door, it won’t be enough to keep you there.

Oh, and one last thing…which if you’re reading this blog, you already know. Stalk me. Not in the creepy park-a-van-across-the-street way, but online…check me out on LinkedIn, twitter, facebook, WordPress. If you got an interview, you can bet I did the same.



1. Sorin - July 26, 2010

…thing is that you care, you believe in smth. I’ve done what you said with people that didnt’t care, it was awful.

2. Herbert - February 14, 2011

Thank you, these are great ideas, some of them are so obvious that I can’t believe I’m not already implementing them. Again, thanks for this great post!

3. john - February 16, 2011

Would like to add that the interviewer should as least be prepared as well. If I’m driving 3 hrs from out of town, spending the night just to see you the next day, have done my home work to know who you are and what your co. does, you should do the same.
Had an interview with a co. in SF, the interviewer never bothered to read my resume, was looking at my portfolio for the first time during the interview, wasn’t familiar with my previous job skills (I could tell by the questions and lack therof), never asked any deep or probing questions and then promised to ‘get back with me” in a day, (never did). I left knowing this was not the person I wanted to work for even if the job would of been a great opportunity

dantemurphy - February 17, 2011

Amen, brother.

As the hiring manager, I consider it my responsibility to brief the rest of the interview loop on the candidate. I always try to highlight specific things for each interviewer to discuss or evaluate, and I’m VERY picky about who I’ll let interview one of my candidates.

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