A good leader is always on the lookout for talent. And good talent knows every interaction is a potential interview – whether you’re looking for a new job, growing your current book of business, or expanding your network. So most of us wear our game faces all the time.
When it comes to interviewing candidates for a specific role, there are plenty of top ten lists of characteristics your boss will measure you against. And while there are some good points floating around (whether you arrive prepared, etc.), there are also a lot of things I’m looking – or not looking – for in those first interactions.
I care about gaps in your resume. I care because I want to know how you spent that time and what you learned. I want to know why it mattered to you to take a break and what you’re bringing with you as a result of it. Most of all, I want to know if you took advantage of the time, even if you learned a valuable lesson not to do it again.
Similarly, I care if you have a low GPA – not because I’ll automatically count it against you. More importantly, I want to hear your “grown up” view on it. Did you think your low GPA was good enough? Or were you tending to other areas of focus? Don’t be defensive; this is an opportunity to tell me about choices you’ve made and how you steered your way through them. Most importantly, it’s a way to see if you can reflect back and if you’ve grown since those fraternity/sorority days.
I also don’t care how old you are, or how you score on a personality test. What I want is evidence of whether you’re results-driven, if you’re a self-starter or require more guidance, and if your goals and priorities are in alignment with where our organization is headed. (And if you don’t know where we’re headed, you should probably come prepared to ask.)
To me, interviews are about dialog, not Q&A, and hiring someone is about building relationships – between the candidate and our team, between our team and our clients, and between our clients and their customers. While at times, it may feel like a quick back and forth on every detail on the resume or CV, the document is just a starting point and while exaggerations and mis-statements are going to hurt your candidacy, absent of ethical mistakes, it’s a talking document to get the candidate to share. We really want to hear about what you think now, what you thought then about those decisions, how you turned a loss into a win, and how your experiences shaped who you are today.
At Pluris, we’ve built a team of great people who excel at their work and are nimble enough to adjust to shifts in client needs, market winds, and changes in priority. In the end, the ability to roll with the changes and learn from them is one of the most important traits we’re looking for. We are a team committed to delivering excellent results for our clients, even if they don’t always (or even often) come at the end of a straight road.