What Hiring Managers Are Really Looking For When Interviewing Candidates.

https://blossomcareer.libsyn.com/what-hiring-managers-are-really-looking-for

Katherine Bouglai:

Hello there, this is Katherine Bouglai with Blossom Career, and welcome to another episode of Conversations with Blossom Career. And today, we’re going to talk about the interviewing process, job interviews. How exciting is that? I know there are so many people out there that are really nervous, they have interview anxieties, they don’t know how to act, they don’t know how to behave, what to expect and all of that. And today on this episode, we’re going to answer all of these questions, all of this common questions. And I have a special guest. I have Jonathan Hyatt on this call with me who is an expert interviewer. So he is a hiring manager. He has hired many people for his team and interviewed many people for his team because they discovered he was a pro at interviewing. So Jonathan, hi.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Hi, and thank you for having me on today. Excited to be on. And I will say thank you so much for such nice kind words about my expertise. I’ll take the kindness. But yeah, I’ve had a lot of experience throughout the interview process, as well as being a part of panels for those of you get to enjoy those firing range situations. So I’m glad to be here to talk about this.

Katherine Bouglai:

Awesome. Yes, hopefully we’ll put a lot of anxiety at ease in the next 40 minutes. Or give people at least a better idea what to expect.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

Because don’t you agree there’s a lot of misconception out there? A lot of misunderstanding?

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh, absolutely. I think that there’s a lot of pressure that’s put down on the interview process. Obviously people desperate and people interested in getting a job and being afraid of what people are going to think about them. But a lot of… It’s not even misconceptions. It’s almost just so high level that a lot of the advice that you’re given is almost not valuable. You’ll see a lot of things like, I brought up just to have for this like Forbes’ top five things, hiring managers, look for in these high level things like interest, show excitement. And you’re like, “Well, of course, hopefully those things are obvious, but what should I know more in depth about preparing for this?”

And a lot of it I think comes down to trying to understand the perspective from a communication level of how are you trying to interact with this other individual and what am I going to get out of this? There’s a lot of problems that come out of the whole interviewing process that makes it very cold, can make it very scary. That’s I think unfortunate not only for the interviewee, but also for the interviewer. A lack of prep, I’ll say that. And a lack of taking the time to really understand what you’re going to get out of an interview and what you can get from an interview.

Katherine Bouglai:

There’s a lot of bad advice. There’s a lot of confusing advice. And when people… People do spend time preparing, but they don’t know what to prepare for.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Exactly.

Katherine Bouglai:

So I have a funny story anecdote to share about it, which I hope our listeners will enjoy. Back a few years ago, I was in my 20s and I was preparing for a job interview. So I went online and I Googled interview advice, all kinds of interview advice you can get.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh, yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

Back in the days, it was way before I even… The idea of being a career coach was even in my mind. And I remember I found this article and it said, “Make sure you dress professionally.” And back in the days, it was more important, and make sure that they’re going to pay attention to everything, how you look, your hair has to be neat. They’re going to look at your nails. So for some reason, the nails stuck with me. So I had to make sure whenever I go to an interview, I would get my nails done.

And so I painted my nails this red color, I went to an interview, I got the job and forgot about everything. And then apparently I found out later on, probably a few months afterwards, I was working there and I also had a red nail polish and then my boss comes to me and he goes, “Well, Katherine, I’ve never seen you wearing a nail polish red ever since your job interview.” And I thought, “How can you remember that?” So apparently the guy had a thing for the red nail polish.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Interesting.

Katherine Bouglai:

I hope that’s not why I got the job.

Jonathan Hyatt:

You were well prepped for that, Katherine.

Katherine Bouglai:

But it was just so weird and it was creepy actually.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh, yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

But those little things people make an assumption. One of the most common reasons people make assumptions is because they think if I think a certain way, everybody else is going to think the same way I do. So one, if you met one hiring manager, you met them all, which is not true because everybody’s looking for different things obviously.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, exactly.

Katherine Bouglai:

So Jonathan, let’s get into nitty-gritty now that we’re warmed up a little bit with some fun stories.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

The biggest question. What are hiring managers really looking for? More specifically, when you are hiring people, when you’re interviewing people for your team, what are you looking for? What is the number one or the top five things that you pay attention to?

Jonathan Hyatt:

So it’s all from the 10,000 foot perspective. The number one thing that I’m looking for at any given time is how well we’re connecting. If I’m meeting with someone, the assumption is that I already assumed they can do the job. There’s a reason that if I have a good recruiter, they’ve already been passed onto me, I can usually assume they have the capability of doing the job and we’ll talk through there the specifics on that.

And there’ll be certain other criteria that maybe we’ll get through as we’re going through that. But it’s really an interpersonal connection and it’s trying to see how well is this individual going to fit with the culture of my team. And how invested is this person to be having this conversation with me and in this position that we’re talking about? I’ve definitely had a lot of instances where individuals have sat down with me to discuss a role and found out very quickly that they weren’t even sure which business they were talking to at that time, which is usually not the best way to start off an interview. But at the end of the day, it really is how well is this person going to fit working with me and how well are they going to fit the culture that they’re going to be coming in with?

Jonathan Hyatt:

There’ll be a lot of questions that I would probably throw someone’s way and a lot of it’s going to come down to how well they’re able to answer some of those questions, those tricky can’t questions, the ones that they try to trick someone up by throwing out some interesting nondescript or non-specific situations that are meant to confuse you. But again, at the end of the day, it’s not about necessarily the experience that you have. It’s how well you can describe your experience and how much I can learn from you. How much I’m going to be able to want to sit down with you and understand from you because it’s a partnership.

And I think a lot of times when it comes to the interview process, we get this very cold isolated, call them tracks. Two different parallel lines. And there’s a gap in between there, and there’s a lot of reasons that that happens. And there’s a lot of anxiety on one side. Often, on the interviewer side, there’s a lot of disinterest.

That’s one of those things that I think a lot of people don’t realize when they’re going through the interview process is that the person who’s providing that interview for you, the hiring manager, they’re likely in between other meetings. They’re likely in the whirlwind of work through that day. That doesn’t mean they’re not interested in having someone come in to work with them, but it does mean that this is something that they’re taking outside of their regular course of business. And sometimes that can be a distraction for them, almost always it is. A lot of interviewers also aren’t prepping properly, right?

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah, yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

And so from the perspective of what you can really gain from an interview, there’s a large gap of area that can fall apart. For me as an interviewer, I try to make the person I’m speaking with try to be as comfortable as possible as quickly as I can. And my recommendation for someone who is interviewing is to do the same. You mentioned earlier like making sure you look very nice and very formal, make sure you look appropriate for the role depending on where you’re applying in terms of your attire and that’s something you need to do as part of your research for the job. But that stoicness that you may have, you want to make sure that you’re able to break that down as quickly as you can so that you’re working with this other person.

And that that gap of communication breakdown is I think the area of most importance for me as a hiring manager. The things that I usually will look for is how quickly can I get this person to open up and not be doing the things that they’ve rehearsed and not be providing me with the answers that they’ve said over and over and over again to themselves in a mirror because they know that you can usually tell that this is something someone’s rehearsed, right?

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

I want to know what I can take from this individual and what they’re going to teach me because it’s going to be a partnership that we’re going to have. So is this someone I’m going to be able to have a partnership with at the end of the day? And it could be this person’s not even necessarily on paper as qualified as some of the other individuals I’m working with, but it may be that the person that I relate to the best that I’m able to work with the best, person I learned the most from during this interview is the person I would hire even if again, on paper, they’re not as good as someone else I’ve spoken with from their experience.

Katherine Bouglai:

Great. And thank you, Jonathan. That was a great insight. And I just want to remind everybody that Jonathan is not every hiring manager out there.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh, no.

Katherine Bouglai:

There are a lot of them who will look at your experience and depends on the role. So I understand you mostly work with project managers, right?

Jonathan Hyatt:

So I work with project managers, process development managers, members of IT, members of general workforce and call centers.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

So I spoke… And I will go back and say that and to go to a point earlier on. This is coming from the perspective of someone who has taken the time to learn how to be a good interviewer.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

And that’s what I was saying is, a lot of times the person who’s giving you that interview is distracted or they’re someone who’s not a great interviewer.

Katherine Bouglai:

Oh, yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

A lot of times people have been taught how to do an interview based on their own experiences. So they expect it to be cold and awkward or these very simple answers. I have these 10 questions ask everyone and that’s it. Or I’m just going to look at your resume here and I’m going to check off the boxes and I’m going to have you explain your resume to me in more detail.

Okay. So you will experience different kinds of hiring managers. But I think at the end of the day as an interviewer, and this is what I’ve ever done when I go in for an interview myself is again, trying to break down that barrier that’s between you as an individual as much as you can. And so that’s for me as a hiring manager, what I do, and that’s why I’ve been brought on a lot of panels for the companies I’ve been in for interviewing new individuals who are coming in is less than I even am the expert in their area, but that I can glean a lot more because I am good at interviewing individuals.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah, absolutely. And where I was going with this, Jonathan, actually, what you mentioned, two very important points. One is, you’re looking for connection. Is this person going to be the good fit for your team? Because that’s what you’ve learned is important is to have a team of people that get along with each other, that have a productive environment that’s also a fun environment to be and that’s important to you.

And the other thing you’ve mentioned is, what can I learn from this person? What do they bring to my team that’s new and not just to rehearse the right answers? And this is very good because that’s what I also coach my clients when we talk about interviewing. It’s not about giving them the right answer. There’s no right answer. It’s about giving them something in your answers that they haven’t heard before, something that’s going to get them to saying, “Oh,” and something that’s going to get them to remember you.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah, so that’s great. The other thing what I was going to say as far as the differences is, there are a lot of hiring managers who will pay attention to your technical skills. And particularly my husband also interviews software engineers. He’s now a software engineer lead and he interviews junior to mid-level software engineer positions. And he will pay attention mostly technical interviews, how well they can solve problems. So there’s a lot of that going on, but again, you nailed it having a connection. So if he meets somebody who is super genius or comes across as a genius and who knows everything, but has really poor social skills, he will also think about is that person going to be a good fit for the team?

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

And if it’s not a good fit, there might be some questions. So yeah, absolutely.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, and I think that’s a great way to think of it. And again, I mentioned those can’t questions that you inevitably always get about some random technical question. Like I gave you three columns of data and how would you use that data that everyone gets to enjoy through the interview process? Those questions are important, but they’re less important about the answer you give than how you provide it. They want to see how you think.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

And they don’t want to see you think the right way, “right way.” So it’s one of those things of when someone asks you a question like that, you should be very honest and how you would actually solve it because you’ll find that your honest way of working through something is usually better than trying to think about what they would want you to provide as your way for working through a situation. So that’s another thing to know is that those questions are made to trip you up, but there’s nothing wrong with working through them in your own way, in your own capacity. That’s what they want to see.

Katherine Bouglai:

Okay. So Jonathan, let’s go back a little bit. We’ll get to the questions later and the trippy questions and the grueling questions, whatever they are. You mentioned something really important. We actually both talked about it is, people when they prepare for the interview, they don’t know what to prepare for.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

They prepare for the wrong thing. They rehearse all their answers. They’re trying to get the right answer to the questions, playing in front of the camera, whatever it is they do. What is… Now, let’s talk about the big question. What is important to be prepared for? What should they pay attention to instead?

Jonathan Hyatt:

The number one thing to prepare for is to know yourself. And I know that seems like a really like old Greek mythic answer to that is, know thyself. But at the end of the day, no matter what the questions are, they’re always going to usually come back to circle to your own experience and what you are capable of doing. And if you know what you’ve done and what you are capable of doing and you are very confident in being able to answer those questions in a way that would be very honest and are very the things that you’re passionate about in terms of your own experiences and your own history and your own successes, those are the things that you can prep for better than anything because you can almost always circle any question that someone throws to you to your own experiences.

And there’s a lot you can do to prep for a role. There’s a lot you can do to prep to know the company. And you absolutely should. You should research the company that you’re looking to apply to. If you know the person you’re going to be speaking with and you can go on their LinkedIn, that’s great. You definitely want to look for things that you’re finding for that are of interest to you because for sure that person wants to see that you are enthusiastic about this company.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

But when it comes to things that you’re going to prep for, you’re selling yourself. So how are you going to sell yourself as this product that they’re going to want to bring onto their company? So the more that you can know what came from the things you’ve done, the more that you can speak to your experiences and your successes, the goals and achievements you’ve had. Whether those be career-wise or those in life, your ability to speak to those in an honest, truthful, and passionate way are always going to be the most beneficial.

So the more that you’re able to “sell yourself.” I know that’s obviously the whole concept of an interview, but literally your self and how you have lived your life, how you work, how you look at the world and the work you do is going to be the number one thing to “prep for” because you need to be able to talk about yourself and you need to be able to speak to what you know and what you don’t know, and be able to confidently talk about the things that you don’t know, but in a positive way.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

One of the worst things that we see is people who don’t do anything wrong. The interviewer who says they can do everything, knowing that you are not a perfect individual, that you’re not this Grecian god who can do everything perfectly. You’re human and you know what your abilities are and how far you can go with them. And being able to say, “I’ve been working on this,” or, “This is an area I’ve been working on,” in advance of them necessarily asking you that question can be sometimes huge in them know knowing that you’re an individual who is self-aware, who’s capable of self-analysis and self-constructive thoughts. You’re able to see what you can and can’t do. That can be hugely beneficial.

Katherine Bouglai:

Absolutely. What I’ve heard you say is basically know your value.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

When you know your value, you have the confidence to present yourself without trying too hard.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Right.

Katherine Bouglai:

That’s another thing that people do, the biggest mistake and they don’t do it on purpose. It just naturally comes across when you’re nervous is, they try to be everything you want them to be.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Correct.

Katherine Bouglai:

And I’m going to make the analogy with dating. Interviewing is like dating a lot.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh, absolutely.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah, when people have no clue what they’re doing, they’re going to meet a person. The number one goal is to make a good impression. They want to look good. They want to impress the other person. So especially if they really like this person, especially if they really want this job, I’m going to be everything you want me to be. just tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll be that. And that comes across as creepy.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

It comes across as creepy and dating and it comes across as creepy in an interview. And you start wondering is that person for real? And it feels something is wrong there that absolutely they’re not being authentic. They’re not being real. The flip side of it is sometimes people will talk too much about themselves and they come across as arrogant. So what can you say about that, Jonathan?

Jonathan Hyatt:

There is that part of it is, you don’t want to be a yes man, for sure. Like the last thing you want to do is whatever comes your way, I’m perfect at it as you just said. I can do everything and anything you throw my way, or that you totally agree with everything they’re saying. Sometimes it is okay also to disagree politely with some of the things that they say your way in a way that you can utilize as a discussion with that individual. But in terms of how you’re interacting with this individual, you definitely don’t want to come off as a know-it-all. Right?

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

That’s the worst because you want to make sure that you are showing that you’re there to learn and that you’re going to be gaining something from them. If it seems like you’re coming in and you know everything, well, then are you right for this job? A lot of times unless you’re coming in as like a senior VP for a company, if you’re just coming in saying, “I know how to do my job better than you know how to do your job,” that’s not going to come off well. And another one there as you mentioned the awkward dating situation, you don’t want to come off as someone who is a jerk. [inaudible 00:22:42].

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

You want to make sure that you’re going to be there to take and give. You’re going to give information in a way that’s going to be valuable and you’re going to be able there to take and be able to input and think things through and not just tell them, “I know how to solve everything that you’re going to throw my direction.” Even if that’s what they want, obviously they’re usually hiring someone who’s going to be able to solve an active problem that they’re experiencing, that’s usually why a role is created is because a problem exists that they need to solve, but you don’t necessarily want to come in and just say, “I got this easy.”

You want to be able to listen to their issues and be able to think them through and be passionate or compassionate about the problems they’re having and be able to work with them, with it, on it. So it’s a complicated I guess line there of saying, “I’m able to be the person you need to solve this problem. But I’m also not the person who’s telling you that I know everything about this subject.”

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah, because that will just come across as fake.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, because you don’t know everything. That’s one of the biggest things you can understand is, even if you’re a “expert in your field.” I come from an academic background. So people who were experts in their field, I knew come from, obviously I’m from a business perspective, people who are experts in their particular area. The people who are truly “experts” are the first people to admit that they’re not perfect.

So the guise of perfection is often the indicator of someone who is in fact not that. And so that’s where you want to be careful with. And how you present yourself is because if you act like you’re an expert, it’s probably one of the first ways that someone’s going to assume that you’re in fact not because you don’t realize the things… You don’t realize that there’s areas you don’t know, or you’re not willing to admit it.

Jonathan Hyatt:

One of the best examples I have and I’ve been asked this and I think every interview I’ve ever been in. Now, this is just because of the kind of work I do is, how good are you with Excel? I think that’s a normal question a lot of people get. How are you with spreadsheets? How are you good with forecasting? And one of the worst things you can do when it comes to Excel, and this is for this example of say, “Oh, I’m an expert,” or they’ll say, “On a scale of one to five, how are you?” I’m a five.

The reason is, anyone who’s worked with that system will be able to tell you that that is such a complex system to be an expert in. It is almost impossible. One. So you’re selling yourself in an area that if someone understands this product, that’s already like, oh really you are? Almost a challenge. But they may know… In my case, I know someone who works on the Excel team and even they don’t consider themselves an expert and they develop the product. So there’s a way to be able to say, “I’m incredibly comfortable with this system” without saying, “Oh, I’m an expert in that.”

Katherine Bouglai:

Interesting.

Jonathan Hyatt:

You know what I mean? So there’s that like, what’s your comfort level and something, you can say, “I’m incredibly adept with this system. And here’s what I mean by that.” And whenever I’ve been asked by Excel, my answer recently was, hold on. Well, let’s explain someone who’s an expert in this system.

I’ve been working with it for a long time. I’m incredibly comfortable with it. I’d love to say I’m like a four, but let’s say out of five, but let’s say fairly, I’m a three and a half, four. But I’ve been working with it for years. I’m very comfortable with any usage you should want. And I also understand that there’s areas that I can learn from. So that answer tells them a lot more than just being like, “Oh, I can do whatever. My comfort levels of five out of five. I can do whatever.”

Katherine Bouglai:

Interesting. I just learned something new. I thought I was an expert at Excel. And they use it for everything, planning, vacation, trying to decide where I’m shopping and sometimes I can get out on Excel, but I’m realizing there’s so much more to it that I don’t know.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, it’s one of those things is, I love Excel because of the depth of it as my example, it’s when I provide a lot when I’ve given interviewing coaching in the past. So there’s a different way of answering of, I know everything about this subject and I’m the best in the world on it. And yes, I understand that. I know how to utilize it and I’m comfortable using it.

Katherine Bouglai:

And the other thing I wanted to say, what I’m hearing again is, be an expert. Yes, you do have experience, which is great because you’re looking, you want people who have experience, but at the same time, realize that your experience that you’ve had is not necessarily the same as what you’re going to be expected in this particular situation. So yes, talk about your expertise, but also be interested in the problems of the company you’re interviewing for and not just dismiss them saying, “Oh, I know how to do it. I’ve done it before. And I can do it. No problem.” And not even listening to what the real situation is.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, and from the psychological perspective that the question that they’re asking you, unless they’re pulling like what are the five questions to ask an interviewee in this next interview, which those are online. You can look up thousands of interview prompts. And I know people who interview in that capacity and they just have like 10 questions and then they say, “I guess that was good. Thanks. Bye.”

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah, and I have a list of them too that I go over. But yeah, you’re right. The important thing is to know your value. And I will also say shift your focus away from yourself to the company.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yes.

Katherine Bouglai:

So it’s not about you. You are there to discuss a problem because they need someone they’re going to hire, there’s a job opening. And the job opening is there not because they want to create more jobs for people, but because they need somebody to come in and solve their problems.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Correct. Yeah, and that’s what I was saying from a psychological perspective, any question that they’re giving you is coming from a place of the problem they’re trying to solve.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

So if you can think of it from that direction, that the thing that they’re asking you is an active pain for them, think about how you can holistically help them work through that or show that you’re understanding and compassionate about the problem may have. If they ask you the general Excel question again, there’s a reason they’re asking you that. And you can learn more from them even by a followup question to them to saying, “What were the things that you’re for that are the uses for this?” How are you using it currently? What’s the general usage of that platform for the whole group?

There’s a lot of things you can ask that can sometimes seem awkward to ask. But anything you can use to try to connect with this individual and the position that they’re there in the company that they’re working for is to your benefit. You want to try to break down that barrier is as quickly as you can to make it so that you’re having a much more interpersonal relationship during this time period than just, again, those two cold pillars on either side of the table.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah. Okay. So Jonathan, let’s talk about the next subtopic, which is interview anxiety.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh, yeah.

Katherine Bouglai:

What advice would you give to people who have interviewing anxiety and how to deal with that if it comes up?

Jonathan Hyatt:

So huge topic.

Katherine Bouglai:

I know.

Jonathan Hyatt:

And there’s a lot of reasons that people can have anxiety. It could be… Well, number one, everyone has a job interview anxiety. Interviews are scary. Interviews are difficult no matter what the job is. And if you’re someone who isn’t nervous about a job interview, I tip my hat to you. I have never had a job interview in my life that I wasn’t nervous about. And that also includes me as the interviewer going into every single one. And I’m not even someone whose job’s on the line.

Katherine Bouglai:

If you are not nervous, even a little bit going to a job interview, then I would be worried about why not.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, exactly.

Katherine Bouglai:

I do you really want this job or is it just, yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, so that’s the number one thing. And the reason I mentioned that is just don’t berate yourself because you’re anxious.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Don’t be hard on yourself because you’re anxious. This is expected. This is normal. And I think also knowing that when you go in, the interviewer if they’re in any way a good interviewer understands that you’re probably nervous and that’s okay. Once you get past that that it’s okay that you’re nervous, there are things you can do obviously to help prep yourself for it. You’ve hopefully done research, hopefully prepared yourself for this company. You’ve decided it’s something you’re actually interested in pursuing.

Those are all great things for your own support, but that’s not going to necessarily remove your anxiety. That’s just data that you have at your disposal. It’s like getting ready for a test. I know when I was going to college, there was a lots of data I would have inside my pocket ready for whatever this task was, but I had no idea what the questions were going to be.

Jonathan Hyatt:

So it’s great that you have all this data, but how are you going to be able to be calm enough to take this test? For me, what I recommend is, if you don’t do it, do a lot of exercises, stretches, motions, things that are able to try release tension that you have in your body up until the interview and throughout it if you know how to do some levels of several releases of tension because when you are really focused and you’re really nervous about something, you’re going to tighten.

You’re going to become more constrained. And a lot of times it’s also going to cause you to become much less wide focused. You’re going to become very singular focused. And I see this a lot with people I’ve interviewed is that you’ll ask them a question and they’ll get so nervous about it that they can only think about this one track of things, and then they can’t get off it.

Jonathan Hyatt:

So you want to try to be able to find a way to open up your body, open up your voice, open up your whole person as much as you can so that when you walk in, you don’t have any tightness. So that’s from a physical standpoint. I recommend those types of things because they just help. They keep you from being overly nervous. And I know that’s a weird thing to prep on, but you can definitely do that to find some way to just physically be less anxious.

And then the other thing you can do is, tell yourself you’ve got this. Be confident in what you know, be confident in who you are, and be confident that you have a product that has value. The more confidence that you can have in yourself, the more that you’re going to exude to this other person that you have a belief in yourself. So those are the kinds of things I would say to people.

Katherine Bouglai:

Great. And I have also a couple of advices for that. One is, know what you’re going to talk about. So knowing your value is going to ease your anxiety a little bit. Two, shift your focus away from your self. Most of the time people have anxiety because it’s about their performance. And so if you shift your focus away from how well you perform towards the company needs and make that the main goal of the interview is to discuss you are there to help them solve their problems and not necessarily talk about yourself, even though you will be talking about yourself, but it’s not about your performance. It’s about them. That’s going to ease your anxiety quite a bit.

And then the last but not least is, don’t beat yourself up. So if you do get nervous, that’s normal, you are human. If you forget to say something on the interview and then back home, I call it the elevator thought. So you get into elevator, walking away from the interview and all of a sudden, “Oh shoot, I wish I said that.” “Oh, I forgot to tell.” Remember, they give you their business card and they tell you, “You can email me later on if you have any questions,” that’s actually in the invitation. It’s not them being polite.

So when you have some afterthoughts, just wait a few hours, let it digest, let it process. And then you can send them a follow-up email and say, “Hey, remember that question you asked me? I thought about it some more and I wanted to add this and this and this.” And that actually shows them that you are interested and you’ve been thinking about it.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that’s one of those ones that it feels awkward to do. And for sure, the first couple of times I ever did that because people who recommended that I do that when I’ve interviewed for positions was awkward to do. But once you start doing it, you start realizing that that is a thing that you can do. It’s one of those things that the person’s not going to look down on you for following up with them.

And then the other part of it there in terms of also not beating yourself up is, once it’s over, it’s okay. I’ve never walked away from an interview that I didn’t wish I hadn’t said something slightly different or did I speak too fast? Did I get too flustered when I answered that? Yeah, I’ve never walked away from an interview even ones that I knew that I nailed that I didn’t wish I hadn’t done something different. That’s okay.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Okay.

Katherine Bouglai:

And even if you’re nailed on the interview, there is still a chance that you may not get the job.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Oh 100%.

Katherine Bouglai:

That’s that’s another point worth mentioning. Okay. Well, Jonathan, I think to summarize the major two points to have in mind is, confidence is the number one thing. Being confident, authentic, and also humble. We didn’t mention that word, but in your description, that’s what I picked up. Be humble. Don’t be arrogant.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Yes. As usual, Katherine, you’re able to find a way to put one word to seven that I use.

Katherine Bouglai:

And any other last thoughts before we wrap up?

Jonathan Hyatt:

I think the main thing is, you can do that. You can do this interview. You can do whatever you believe you’re capable of doing even if your experience isn’t perfect. Even if what this job application says you requires all these things for, even if your experience wasn’t perfect of these past jobs, you can do whatever job you’re applying for iIf you believe you can do it, if you know in yourself you can do it.

And if you come in with that perspective that you want to prove you’re capable of doing this job, you’re setting yourself up for whatever level of success was possible. So it’s possible you wouldn’t get this job either way. It’s possible that this wanting to speak with you, that’s okay. It’s all experience. But because you believed in yourself is the reason you’re speaking to this person now. You didn’t get past the recruiter by faking it more than likely.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

Recruiters are amazing. I wish I had the ability to speak with people constantly, but I just don’t have that skill. But they’re also usually really good at what they do.

Katherine Bouglai:

Yeah.

Jonathan Hyatt:

When it gets to the hiring manager level, you’ve proven at the very least that you have that value to be there. You have a reason to be sitting across the table from this person. Whether it’s someone you don’t know up to top executive XYZ, there’s a reason you’re speaking to them and a reason that they’re taking their time to speak with you. And enjoy that. Be proud of the fact that you’re where you are.

Katherine Bouglai:

Awesome. Great. So that would be the end of our episode. And thank you for listening everybody. And I just wanted to give you a heads up. Our next episode in August, I’m going to be talking with recruiter about a similar topic, except that the title is going to be What Recruiters are Looking for When They Select Candidates. So this is going to be very exciting. Please stay tuned for that.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Conversations with Blossom Career. For more information on career transitions, visit my website blossomcareer.com to find lots of resources on career coaching, resumes, LinkedIn, and more. If you’re interested in exploring what your future career might look like, feel free to schedule a complimentary discovery call with me. I’ll see you next time.

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