You and Your Recruiter

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The Importance of Actually Answering the Interview Questions

my pickAnswer the question you were asked. Seems relatively straight forward, but in my experience, many candidates can’t seem to nail down this part of the interview. This skill is important to master, not doing so has the potential to hold back a perfectly qualified individual.

Very often I will ask a candidate a question, only to receive a long-winded, complicated, tangential answer which more often than not does not answer the original question. This presents an issue because a) it comes off as if you didn’t listen to the question or b) you are trying to obscure something else that might be the real answer. These are both pretty negative impressions to make on a hiring manager so you want to avoid both at all costs!

The best advice I can give you is:

Really listen to the question that is being asked of you, if you didn’t catch it the first time, it is better to ask the interviewer to repeat the question, than to guess at what they asked you and end up not actually answering the question.
Speak with intention. Be as concise as possible, at the same time as using the most meaningful and impactful language and formulations for your answers.
Be honest, but that doesn’t mean you need to share EVERYTHING, only share what will work in your favor of positioning yourself as a desirable candidate.
The last point that I made above about honesty is important. Never lie about experience or salary, but there is such a thing as being too honest. A hiring manager doesn’t need to know too many details about your personal life, they want to know why you want to work for them, and you should only share the motivations that involve your interest in their company and your career growth ambitions.

To sum up, short, sweet and to the point is the golden rule for answering the question you have been asked! Take your time to figure out what information the hiring manager is asking for, and answer honestly and eloquently. Now you can go and rock that interview!

Body Language: Secrets to Winning the Interview

Having great body language alone won’t land you your dream job, but it can certainly increase your chances of projecting a confident, smart, social and professional image which are incredibly important attributes to be remembered by. I’ve outlined 10 simple and easy tips below to keep you ahead of the game for interviewing and for life in general too!

1. Sit all the back in your seat: it shows confidence and that you are relaxed and ready, so try to avoid slouching as much as possible as it shows insecurity.

2. Instead of constant eye contact: instead, focus on your interviewers face. Eye contact is great, but it can be a little intense and uncomfortable at times so use it wisely.

3. Use hand gestures while speaking: this is a great trick if you’re really nervous and your hands are shaking.

4. Show your palms: it shows honesty and puts people at ease.

5. Plant your feet on the ground: don’t cross your legs, or ankles. Believe it or not, it is scientifically proven that we create the best thoughts with both feet on the floor… weird right?

6. Work on your walk: when your greeting your interviewer, make sure you walk directly towards them with your body pointing in their direction and with your neck elevated and shoulders pulled back; not like Naomi Campbell, but I think you get my point.

7. Don’t cross your arms: it shows disengagement and makes you look like you are closed off, and you want to always look open and inviting but not in a sexual way of course.

8. Nod your head while listening: it shows that you’re attentive, so even if you’re bored to death, it would be best to fake it.

9. Lean in: keeping your shoulders back and down, and your chest high demonstrates interest.

10. Smile: it shows that you’re friendly and approachable

Candidate Representation

I get many emails from candidates along the lines of the following – “Hi Melanie, I just applied for a Media Director position at Ralph Lauren that I am really interested in. Are you working on the role? If so, do you mind sending my resume and putting in a good word for me?”.

Ok. Here is how the recruiting process works. When a company briefs a search firm to find them talent, they are paying us a fee, and obviously, they are not going to pay a fee for a candidate who has already sent their resume to them directly. So with the situation above, lets say I was working on the Media Director role at Ralph Lauren. I would not be able to present that candidate for the role, as the company already has their resume. Why would they pay a fee for a resume they already have. Make sense? The better way to have approached this would have been for the candidate to ask me <strong>before</strong> they apply and see if I have an existing relationship with the firm and if I am able to represent them. I am always honest, and if I am not working on the role but know the hiring manager, I am always happy to put in a good word for the candidate if I think they would be a good fit.

In recruitment terms, this is called “candidate representation” and companies are very strict about this. It gets complicated for them if they are getting the same resume from different sources and this will usually work to the disadvantage of the candidate. Also, if a friend of yours who works at Ralph Lauren tells you they will forward your resume internally for the Media Director role, find out exactly who they are sending it to, and make sure that the person is a relevant, decision maker. Because if I call you up about the Media Director role there, it needs to be very clear as to whether they already have your resume or not.