The hardest thing for a job-seeker to integrate into his or her thinking is the fact that one minute after your interview ends, the hiring manager will forget 80% of what you and they talked about.

They will try to hang onto the high points of your conversation, but for the most part they will fail.

They will retain a vague impression of you. It’s fascinating to notice how managers remember the candidates who stuck out the most in their minds. It’s not a linear, analytical process — in case anyone could delude themselves that it would be. We are people. We are wired to remember stories, colors, impressions and personality traits — not facts and statistics and other kinds of data.

We remember the people we meet at job interviews not because of the specifics of their backgrounds or education but because they make an impression on us somehow. That’s why department managers would walk into my office in HR and say, “I want to hire the third candidate I met — Jeanne. She’s a twin.”

They would remember the twin thing. Evidently Jeanne had brought it up in the interview, in passing.

Someone else would remember that a particular candidate used to run track in high school or raises corgis. Even in the most formal and data-driven interview processes the human side of people is often what sticks out and remains with us more than a candidate’s degrees, certifications or professional experience.

It’s not that the manager wants to hire the candidate because of their corgis or because they ran track. The manager might not care a fig about corgis or track. Rather, they met the candidate and realized that they resonate at the same frequency — and that made them attend more closely to everything else the candidate said and did in the interview.

They remember the corgis or the track background because they were engaged in the conversation more than they were with other candidates.

Formal education, certifications and work experience matter, of course — and they matter more to some managers than others. You won’t get the interview without having several if not most of the formal requirements listed in a job ad or on a job description. But once you’re in the interview room, the basic qualifications can begin to slip in importance. Who you are becomes more important than what you’ve done or what you learned in school.

A hiring manager likes the way you think, they like the way you talk about your background or they like the way you frame their opportunity. That’s why they want to hire you, although they may tell themselves, “I like this candidate’s experience in international shipping,” or some other grown-up and reasonable rationale for hiring you.

Managers want to hire people who will make them look good.

That’s what you have to remember every time you go on a job interview.  You are not there to please your hiring manager. You are there to make it clear to your manager that by hiring you they will grow their own flame. You will do that through your insightful questions, your mature and thoughtful take on their challenges and opportunities, and your confidence in yourself.

That’s why you have to stay present in the interview. If you get outside your body to critique your own “performance” you will not be memorable.  You will not be in your power.

To stay in a hiring manager’s mind after your interview, use your interview airtime to ask questions.

Ask questions about the role, the challenges, the manager’s obstacles and ideas and his or her Business Pain. Stay with the manager in his or her thought process. Don’t try to take the mic in order to talk about yourself. The manager doesn’t care about you. Why should they, really? They have problems they need to solve.

When you stay in your body throughout a job interview, stay with the manager and their real-time pain-relief brainstorming and show up in your power you will know it. You will leave the interview feeling ten feet tall. You’ll go home saying, “I’ve got this in the bag!” For ten minutes you will be right.

Then what happens? The hiring manager is overwhelmed with incoming data at every second of every day, like the rest of us. He or she will say to themselves as they leave the interview room,  “That candidate would be amazing on my team. I’m going to move forward.”

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