How to Impress a Hiring Manager
So you’re getting interviews. That’s great. It proves your resume is working effectively. Now it’s up to you to show your potential new employer that you’re ready to make the leap from job candidate to new hire. Here are a few easy ways to make a great first impression during and after an interview.
During the Interview
Once you're face-to-face with a hiring manager, don't forget that this is your prime opportunity to leave him with a solid grasp of who you are and why he should hire you.
Be a know-it-all. As I often mention in the On the Job column, it's important to do as much advance research as possible on the company you’re interviewing with. Nothing stands out more to a recruiter than interviewing an applicant who knows the ins and outs of the company’s history, its big wins (and misses), as well as the latest industry trends. An interview is not just about you re-stating what’s already listed on your resume, but rather having a dialogue with one or more interviewers about how your skill set and knowledge base fits with the company’s needs.
Show them what you’ve got. Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask you for specific examples of workplace situations with previous employers, remember that you can answer practically any question with a story about how you excelled in a related situation. For example, if a hiring manager asks, “How good are you with Excel?” you can respond with, “Here’s a quick Excel story. One time, we were under the gun to deliver our sales-by-region report to the CEO and…” A story helps to better reinforce your proven track record.
Get the details. While most people don’t walk around their offices carrying their own business cards, you’ll want to have a notepad and a pen with you to take down each interviewer’s full name, title and contact details, and to write down key items from your discussions with each person. You’ll need this information later.
After the Interview
Demonstrating how much you want the gig doesn’t stop just because you’ve left a hiring manager’s office.
Say “Thank you.” Remember those names and conversation notes you jotted down for each interviewer? Now is when they’ll come in handy. You’ll want to write a thank-you note -- either handwritten or e-mail -- that’s personalized for each person you talked with no more than two days after your initial interview. Be sure to highlight any key talking points that might have come up.
Dear Mr. Whitaker,
I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me yesterday. Since I left your office, I’ve been thinking about the distribution issues you mentioned and am wondering what you’d think about simplifying the processes for inventory control and keeping the local warehouses stocked? I’d love to dig into that issue with you in our next conversation. When I was at Acme Products, we installed similar processes and training and cut our inventory carrying costs in half.
Thanks again for your time, and enjoy your weekend.