Author: Lavie Margolin, Career Coach
In a corporate setting, it is not uncommon to go through several rounds of interviews. Your style and manner of answering should actually change for each round to fit what they are looking for. Human Resources professionals are often the first level of interviewers. You may have a brief phone screening before coming into the office and if successful, you will be asked to meet with an internal recruiter. The internal recruiter does not have an overall expertise of what you will be doing day to day on the job. For the most part, they will concentrate on your background in order to get an understanding of your goals, interest in their organization as well as your history. Adeptly explain why you left a job, how you got along with co-workers, what your knowledge is of their industry and the position to which you are applying and what are your aims. You may then meet with a HR Manager before the next stage:
Department Manager: the focus will be on understanding if you can do the job. What are your qualifications for the job? , what are your technical skills? , What are your relevant accomplishments? etc. You may be asked to demonstrate your knowledge through case studies and problem solving. This stage of interviewing would typically have the least fluff. Explain here clearly, using examples, your knowledge of the tasks required in the job and your previous experience handling these responsibilities.
Future Co-Workers: Potential co-workers may be asked to meet with you. They would like to know if they can work with you, how your attitude is and if you could contribute to the team. Remember not to get too comfortable. Although everyone may seem ‘on your level’ for the first time in the process, maintain your professionalism! Use stories and examples that show you are a team player and will help out whenever necessary.
Vice President/Senior Management: Often, a senior staff member will interview you before final approval is given. This person will focus on your fit for the organization. Give an overall strong picture of you. Demonstrate that you did your research into the organization and have a genuine interest in being part of the team.
The final stages of an interview with the company executive are unique. At this point you have probably made it through several rounds of interviews with the same company: human resources recruiters, department managers and potential future co-workers. What is different about this stage? The executives have already received word that you are technically qualified for the position. They are now looking to see if you are a fit for the organization:
1) Are you the type of employee that they would want representing their organization? 2) Are your values in line with company culture?
3) Are you passionate about their organization and not just the job?
Focus on your knowledge and interest in the company and the industry. Show you have done your research and why you are interested in their company specifically. Do not get too technical, unless prompted to do so, regarding your ability to handle the technical aspects about the position. As the executive will have a general understanding of what you will be doing every day on the job, they are likely to lose interest in discussing minutiae.
Allow the executive to take the lead. In many cases this is just a ‘rubber stamp’, you will not be interacting with this person on a day to day basis. By talking too much, you can sell yourself out of a job. Try and mirror the traits of other employees you have met at the company. Follow the lead of the interviewer and explain all of the positive things you have learned about the company during the earlier stages of the process.
About the Author: Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Career Coach and the author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To learn more, go to Lavie’s website, Lion Cub Job Search:www.Lioncubjobsearch.com