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Interview tip: Talk ideas, not resume

January 31, 2014

At Hearsay Social we’re hiring like mad so I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing. As a result, I’ve also been asked for interview tips and feedback.

My number one reply is to make the interview about ideas, strategies and tactics and not about your experience.

Ironically, in an interview people don’t want to learn about you, they want to learn how you can help them and their company. (OK, maybe I’m overstating this a little…  they want to learn about you also!)

But when you interview, try to put yourself in the interviewer’s place and understand their problems and challenges. Then be proactive in addressing those concerns.

I’m always impressed with people who make the effort to try to understand what my challenges are then use the interview time to talk me through how they would manage those challenges.

Sure, as you’re coming from the outside, some if it is guesswork and no one will ever expect someone to get the company’s challenges 100% correct. But if someone does their homework, make smart guesses about what the challenges are, and then comes up with reasoned approach to solve those challenges, they’ll immediately impress and make the conversation more about an exchange of ideas and tactics, rather than going point-by-point through a resume.

My goal when I’ve interviewed is to never have the interviewer refer to my resume. If they need to look at my resume and ask me about what is on it, I feel like I’ve lost because we’ve run out of things to talk about and have had to resort to a resume discussion.

Boring.

But if we spend the entire time talking about ideas, strategies and tactics, I feel like I’m making myself already part of the team. And that’s the ultimate goal.

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