Part 2: How to Wow the Interviewer & Overcome Obstacles

Do you want to knock the socks off your next interviewer? We gathered recent stories from our recruiters about how to impress during the interview process. Last month we kicked off this blog series with immediate deal-breakers. This time around, we will explore how to wow the interviewer and overcome obstacles, otherwise known as awkward moments…

Have you ever had an interview session where a job candidate absolutely wowed you and if so, what did they do?

  • He had all the must-haves and pluses. Was dressed very professionally and just looked sharp. In addition, he was the most personable person. Easy to strike and carry on a conversation with. Looking back, definitely could have seen us hanging out having a beer or two (after work of course or as friends on the weekend).
  • When candidates can articulate their experience directly and succinctly (great communication and presentation skills), have prepared questions to ask me about role/company, and are dressed sharply.
  • The candidates that wow me are the ones that are relaxed and show a little personality.
  • The people who absolutely wow me are the ones that try to connect personally, not just professionally. If I can tell they really are interested in the opportunity, as well as the people they’d work with, that goes a long way.
  • When candidates are sharp, confident with their responses, clear and concise with examples.
  • I’ve had a candidate successfully fly through a technical assessment in just 10 minutes that should have taken at least an hour.
  • The candidate was very knowledgeable about the skills needed for the position and was really personable. It really was the perfect mix.

Note to Self: Asking good questions is really important. Candidates should interview the company just as much as the company interviews the candidate. Overall, come to the interview prepared – know about the position, the company and talk about how your past experience will benefit the company.  

What was the most ill-prepared moment that you’ve had a job candidate encounter and if so, how did they overcome it?

  • I scheduled a call for 9:30 am in the morning with a candidate. When I arrived that morning, I called the candidate and when she answered, she sounded like I woke her up (which was the case). She could not remember my name or why I was calling (yes, I had called the right lady, believe me). I also could hear, not one guy, but two guys in the background complaining about being woken up… Now let your mind wonder with that one!!!
  • I’ve had a candidate in an interview ask what the company they are interviewing with does. Do your homework! It sets you apart and it’s amazing how few do.
  • I’ve had candidates have to prepare in about 10 minutes for a phone interview. With this I stressed confidence! Confidence goes a long way with people!
  • I once had a candidate go in for a face-to-face interview that we expected to be one-on-one with the hiring manager. Instead, they threw him into a group panel interview with the team. He took a deep breath and realized that they must be really interested in him and so he fell back on his qualifications and experience to regain his confidence.
  • That is a tough question. There has been so many interviews.

Note to Self: If candidates are ill-prepared, it can be difficult to tackle the situation although it is helpful to write follow up emails and/or notes to compensate (and make sure that they are well written). Also, be sure to know who you will be speaking and/or meeting with then research the role/company.

For further information on job interview tips and how to avoid classic mistakes, be sure to also visit these pages below to knock the socks off of your next interviewer.

Seven Unexpected Job Interview Mistakes
Common Mistakes Applicants Make When Writing Resumes for IT Companies
Tips for a Successful Skype Interview
Face to Face Interview: On Site Interview Tips
Five Tips for Effective Job Interview Body Language