We are continuing with our current theme: getting you a new position! Today we talk about the interview. Everyone knows about the interview and the questions that are usually asked. If you do not, you should Google popular interview questions and likely responses. I am not going to address that today. I will address, in my opinion, the most important part of the interview process, which is the end. How you end an interview is crucial. Ending the interview early, abruptly or without a call for action typically yields nothing with all hiring managers.
Let’s address the concluding steps to the interview process. Frankly speaking, most hiring managers are not professional interviewers. They may interview once or twice a month at most; therefore, the candidate should try to make the interview process go as smoothe as possible for the hiring manager. Most hiring managers are not going to play games, ask tough questions, etc. First and foremost, they are looking to see if you are a fit for their division. They would not be interviewing you if you were not qualified on paper. It’s now time to see you in person and make further connections with you. Our objective when sending a candidate out for an interview is that they meet with the hiring manager and not a Human Resources representative. If you are representing yourself – please, at any cost – try to interview with the hiring manager and not a member of HR.
Since we know that most hiring managers are not professional interviewers, the conclusion of the interview can become awkward for both candidate and manager. The one thing you know definitively is that the hiring manager is going to conclude and ask if you have any further questions. As far as I am concerned, this now becomes the crux of the interview. I counsel my candidates to have at least two key questions they have not asked. By having two questions they are then able to conclude the interview when they are ready to end it, and not any sooner. They are also able to frame a question around an area that might not have been clear during the body of the interview, or they can “fix” something that might have caused the hiring manager’s attention.
Next step is the call for action. Never leave an interview without thoroughly covering this area. After you have asked your questions, the interview is basically over – or is it? We must remember, whether we are public finance bankers or Bond Counsels, that we are in the Financial sales role in some capacity. Flex that muscle, and please “sell yourself” at the conclusion of the interview. Do not just say thank you, shake hands, and head to the door. The next question is paramount: “What is the next step for you as it relates to my candidacy?” You can use words similar to that. Also, after you ask this closing question, do not say anything. Let the hiring manager answer. No matter how long it takes to get a response, remain quiet. By you asking that question, you are compelling the manager to answer it. No matter what the answer is, it is better to know the next steps (if any) than not try to get to the next level in the process. The next step that I like my candidates to hear, in no particular order:
Provide a three or five year business plan
Provide a current and past deal list
A follow up call will be scheduled with…
We will be scheduling a trip to the home office
We will be getting back to Harlan with next steps
No matter what the next step is, if you want the position let them know it. If you do not want the position, be candid about that as well. I always recommend you never shut the door completely on any opportunity, so even if you are not enamored with the position do not necessarily share that. Saying something like thanking them and letting them know you need to think further about the opportunity is more than appropriate. If you are interested in discussing your career objectives, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at either email@example.com, or for a more immediate response call 760-477-1284.
About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, and Bond Counsels. He can be reached on LinkedIn, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-477-1284.