interview skills

Ryan is one of those clients that has a lot going for him. 

Ivy league undergrad degree in engineering, post-grad fellowship, Warton MBA, then 5 years of dedicated hard work in a consulting firm. He is well regarded and moving up in his firm. But, on his 30th birthday, Ryan decided that he wanted leave his firm with the goal of working with a group of innovative and cutting edge entrepreneurs.  And for the next 6 months, he applied, interviewed and got rejected from several jobs. 

Frustrated, dejected and a little confused, Ryan hired us to help him land this new opportunity.

Ryan has many outstanding skills and strengths but needed some coaching to help him focus his search and revise his resume and narrative so that they lined up more clearly with the positions he was targeting. More importantly, Ryan needed help articulating his skills and strengths more clearly in an interview and building relationships.

Building relationships is a subtle skill that comes naturally to some people. 

We all know the type.  Those warm, gregarious folks who remember your name (and your dog’s birthday) even if you were introduced over a year ago. They instinctively know how to thank the scheduler after a meeting or just the right time to ping a contact. But for many of us, relationship building is not only uncomfortable but very difficult.  It is actually a skill that takes time, effort and practice to develop and can make all the difference when searching for a job.

We worked with Ryan to strengthen his relationship building skills.

And this week it paid off.  Two months back, he had successfully made it through 3 rounds of interviews at a well-funded start-up but lost to an internal candidate.  However, Ryan responded to the rejection in a nice professional manner, and kept in touch with the hiring manager. He continued to build a relationship that he initially formed during the interview process.

Two days ago, the hiring manager called Ryan to tell him that they created another position that was a better fit for his skills and expertise. It had the same title and salary and they wanted him to take it.  And this is honest truth – yesterday another company where he had a strong interview but didn’t get the job, reached out to him to see if he would be interested in a new position at the company- again a better fit for his skills.

So Ryan did two things really well that really paid off. He clearly articulated his expertise to the hiring managers and he created relationships. Not only did the hiring managers remember him, but they also wanted to work with him!  

Don’t let a rejection stop you from building a relationship.

Here are our best tips for turning a rejection into a job offer:

  1. When you walk into an interview, you are there to do two things – You are there to make sure they know what skills and experience you bring to the table,  AND  you are there to build a relationship with the interviewer.
  2. After the interview, keep the relationship “warm”.  Send a note with no agenda. For example – Send notes of congratulations on their company’s accomplishments or if you notice on Linkedin, a personal accomplishment.
  3. If you are rejected, try not to take it personally. There are a thousand reasons a company chooses someone else. Instead, focus on what you have gained– a personal contact in the company. Respond via email to the interviewer or HR contact. Thank them for the opportunity to interview for the position. Reiterate your interest in the company and that you hope they will keep you in mind for other positions.  
  4. Keep on top of new jobs posted on their site and let them know immediately if you are interested in applying. Talk about additional skills you have developed and include an updated resume.                                                                                             

 Your goal is to have them remember you and your skills!

When you walk into that next interview, remember to make a personal connection.  The interviewer may say you are not right for this job, but you COULD be right for their company.

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