Dear Hiring Leader

I have agreed to this interview meeting with you, because the role and the company has me interested. What I have heard and seen and researched so far has me thinking that this would be a viable next career move for me.
Aside from everything I suspect this would add to my skills and experience and work satisfaction, I think I could really make your life easier. I am sure I can add some real value to achieving the goals and vision of yourself and of the company.
Please impress me during this interview as I am not being forced to change jobs, and my next move is critical for my career advancement and professional development. I’m currently considering roles from several potential employers, and I need to see myself working successfully here. So….

  • Please don’t give stock standard answers to my questions. It’s so ho-hum when you tell me that the company is committed to professional development, diversity, work/life balance and has great promotional prospects. Every other employer claims this too but we all know it’s usually corporate marketing bumph. Give me something real.
  • Please do not keep referring to the job spec in your answers – I’ve already read it, and I want to hear directly from you about the remit/challenges/performance measures. You make me worry when you cannot articulate answers without referring back to your checklists. (Are you not clear on what you would want me to achieve? Do you have a confidence issue? Can you only make decisions within the parameters of written policy/procedure?)
  • Please do not ask me inane questions. Asking me where I see myself in 10 years, or what I think my strengths and weaknesses are – these are textbook questions that encourage me to give textbook answers. And you’ll want to give me context to why you’re asking what cartoon character I would want to be, or how I’d empty a 747 plane that is chock full of jellybeans; otherwise I’ll just think that you’re a) trying to trip me up or b) trying overly hard to be a cool cat; and neither impresses me in the slightest. Your lack of questioning depth is steering me to tell you what I think you want to hear. What do you really want to know to set your mind at ease?
  • Please impress me. If you can’t be bothered to look smart, talk smart, behave with manners, and project positive energy, then why would I want to work with you? Don’t make me feel like I’m meeting you just so you can use me to make up numbers to benchmark an internal hire.
  • Please be on time. I want to believe you really are interested in me as a professional and as a person. In the case of lateness for whatever reason, a call in advance would be great, and an apology immediately upon meeting will be appreciated. Just like you, my time is worth something and if you don’t show me respect now, what will you be like to work with?
  • Please be sure you’re clear on the interview process and timing. If you need me to jump through 20 hoops, let me know in advance so I can decide whether I’m committed to invest the time and energy needed for that. If you take weeks and weeks to get your interviews organised, again let me know in advance so I can decide whether I’m prepared to align with such a protracted process. It will save me from withdrawing my application part way through, when I’ve decided that your hiring process must be indicative of your company decision making culture and figured that you couldn’t find you way out of a paper bag.
  • Please don’t oversell the remit/company/culture/anything else. I can spot B.S. a mile off, and I’d rate you more for your honesty if you cannot offer everything I want, but can let me know how you would help me to develop. If I start working here and learn that the role has been mis-sold, I’ll only wind up leaving for a better employer, and you’ll be stuck with a vacancy again.

I want to like you. I want to be enthused by you. I want you to impress me so strongly at interview that I can be excited about the prospect of working here and happily promoting the company to all that I meet (regardless of the outcome of this interview).
PS: the more that I like you, the company and the role, the more likely I’ll flex when it comes time to negotiate any employment offer.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse on March 16th, 2016.

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