Communication for interviews: a recruiter's talk
Monica Cristea shares 10 gold tips to make your job search more successful
Hello everyone :)
It’s spring in Europe and companies are frantically hiring for all tech roles. I bet you want to grab one of those opportunities. As a candidate, bear in mind that your communication skills can definitely boost your chances to be hired.
In the first place, imagine that during the interview process, you will be communicating with people from all over the world. Thus, speaking clearly, manage your speaking speed and pronunciation, and translate a technical speech into terms that everyone (especially those without an IT background) is able to understand are absolutely important things to do. However, communication goes beyond great English speaking skills. There are cultural differences that influence what recruiters and hiring managers in Europe expect to find in an ideal candidate in terms of communication.
To help you understand the minds of your interviewers and how to use your communication skills to ace your job hunting, we invited Monica Cristea, Talent Manager at AVOMIND and Career Coach at Imagine to share with you 10 gold tips that nobody else tells you and will make a big difference next time you meet a recruiter.
— Shall we go?
Feel free to check the recordings of our live session here or enjoy the reading.
#1 Have a strong application.
Your application is your very first contact with the company, thus make sure to cause a great impression through your CV and Cover Letter. Yes, Cover Letter matters!
A strong CV is updated, typos free (we all use this), and tailored to the job description.
To complement your CV (exactly to complement it) and add value to your application you can write a Cover Letter. Apply the DRY principle here and do not repeat yourself. In the Cover Letter, you will state, for example, why you are interested in joining the company, and why you are a good fit. Although many recruiters don’t read cover letters, hiring managers do.
#2 Take care of your written communication.
It’s a cultural aspect. Many companies in Europe have flat hierarchies where everyone treats each other respectfully without being too formal. This is why you can drop the sir/madam treatment and simply use hello or hi when writing to recruiters or hiring managers.
#3 Do your homework before the interview.
Do your research online about the company and try to answer questions such as
What does this company do?
What is its business proposition?
What are its values?
Recruiters really appreciate candidates who understand what the company does. Besides, knowing the company’s values helps you to talk about your motivation to join them.
#4 Prepare your pitch in advance.
Tell me about yourself. How many times have you heard this? It’s super helpful to prepare a 60-second elevator pitch to tell who you are as a professional. When doing so, try to align your pitch with the job description by dropping experiences that don’t seem relevant for the position. For instance, if you applied for a backend position, then focus on your backend experience and technologies. If you also worked with frontend technologies, then it should be presented as a plus, a supporting character instead of the protagonist. Equally important is saying one or two sentences that communicate why you want to join the company and why the job is a great opportunity for you.
#5 Prepare also 3 weaknesses and 3 strengths of yours.
Here the gold tip is to avoid negative words like incapable, unable, etc… Instead, you can say I had some difficulties with… The goal is to show that you have self-awareness, you know your strong and not-so-strong traits, and can honestly speak about them.
Great answers will present your weaknesses in a positive way and what you are doing to enhance those. For instance, I may not be ideal at it right now, but I am looking to grow and become even better. I believe that the environment here and this opportunity will give me the chance to perform even better in this given skill.
#6 Build a relationship.
All interviews are an opportunity to get to know you. What does it look like working with you?
Recruiters are interested in knowing what kind of relationship-building skills you have, how you express yourself, how communicative you are, and how honest you are. Here it worth it to understand the person you will be speaking with, their role, background and try to build a relationship while speaking with them.
#7 Apply the STARR technique.
The STARR technique helps you to escape from giving too short answers that don’t reveal much about your skills. At the same time, it gives a structure to your answers and prevents you from talking too much. Let’s see what each letter stands for.
S stands for situation, the problem, the challenge you faced.
T is the task you undertake.
A represents the actions you take to cope with the situation.
R stands for the results you achieved.
Finally, the last R stands for reflection which is the analysis you make upon the story you just told.
#8 Ask questions.
The interview should be a dialogue instead of a simple Q&A session. You did your homework and know a bit more about the person you will speak with. Then you can prepare beforehand a few questions related to them. Some good examples of questions you can ask are
How difficult it actually is to find the right people to fill this role? In case you are speaking with a recruiter.
How has been your path in the company? or even
How has your role evolved in the company? If you are speaking with a team member or hiring manager.
#9 Practice makes perfect.
Everyone has a best friend or someone who truly supports you in finding a better job. Invite this person to practice your interview answers with you and ask them to give you honest feedback. This will definitely help you to improve your answers before the next real-life interview.
#10 Drink a sip of water.
Last but not least, have a glass of water next to you and grab a sip if the situation gets critical. It’s absolutely normal that we are not prepared for all the questions your interviewer will ask you. The thing is that unexpected questions can be tough and make us feel nervous. If you are asked a tough question, no panic! Something you can do is drink a sip of water and buy yourself valuable seconds to organize your thoughts and come up with a good answer.
We hope you have enjoyed this article and it can help you to enhance even further your communication skills.
All the best my friends.
Cheers, all your friends @ Imagine