Not everyone is good at interviewing. For some people, interviewing is a stressful situation. For others, it’s a walk in the park. No matter who you are, if you are serious about the firm that you are interviewing with there should be some butterflies in your stomach. But as a famous speaker once said, “As long as all the butterflies are flying straight, you are going to do fine.” What about the individual who is really affected by the interview process? What advice do you have for them?
The first piece of advice I have is this: before you even think about the interview, you have to be prepared. In the wake of the internet, this is much easier than it was years ago. So, immediately do your due diligence on the firm. Go to their website and find out as much as possible about the firm and the person that is going to interview you. Try to find out ancillary information by either reaching out to people you may know at the firm, or colleagues that may have worked there in the past. Also, try to locate any news articles about the firm that you can use as part of your interview strategy (more about that in the next paragraph). Go specifically to journals that only deal with your area of expertise. For example: the Bond Buyer for Public Finance Bankers or any other major financial newspaper. Secondly, after you locate people, interview them and ask them questions (not ordinary questions but deeper questions, so that you can feel much more comfortable when you are being interviewed for the position). Do these interviews as a fact-finding mission, not as a way to have someone use their influence to get you hired; this can and will backfire. No current employee wants to feel they are being manipulated to get you a new position. Trust me, if they answer your questions, they will let the hiring manager know your desire to be hired by the firm.
Before you interview it is imperative for those who know they do not interview well to create a working business plan of what you can offer. Take the time to create this document and really dive deep into it. The more that you can write and think, the more that this document becomes a part of your subconscious. You will feel more comfortable knowing that you have a plan to share and potentially implement if you are hired. Once the plan is complete, give the plan to anyone that is helping you prepare for your interview, whether it’s a recruiter, friend, or colleague. Let them do a mock interview with you. This will show that when the time comes, you will be comfortable sharing the contents of the plan as a component to the answers you give to questions your interviewer may ask of you. This preparation will make you more confident and a better interviewee.
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, FinOps & Bond Counsels. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-477-1284.