Interviewing 101

Written by the Recruiter Who Interviews for a Living

  -by Hayley Morrison

-by Hayley Morrison

Day in and day out, I interview candidates. I often hear answers to my questions that I would say are a “no-go” in an interview. One of the many benefits of working with a recruiter is that we are able to offer interview coaching and feedback in order to help you nail your dream job.


Let me tell you a quick story:

I had a candidate - let’s call her Madison for anonymity - who had been in her current role for 10 years and was starting to interview for a new job. In our first meeting, I asked Madison a range of interview questions. Madison answered almost every question I asked her with an incredibly lengthy response, shared WAY too much information, and at times I felt like didn’t even answer my question. Throughout the interview I could tell Madison wasn’t a bad EA, she just didn’t know how to interview. So, the process started: we worked together to practice interview questions and prepared for every interview I sent her on. At the end of it all, Madison landed a role at a top Venture Capital firm, earned an incredible increase in salary, and to this day, she sends me messages thanking me for all the time we spent preparing.

So today, I’m sharing with you some of my “best-kept secrets” of interviewing. I would recommend talking over your specific answers with a trusted professional (a recruiter like me!) before trying at home.

There are 3 Keys to Being Successful in An Interview:

1. Take each and every opportunity to show why the job you’re interviewing for is for YOU!

Remember when your parents told you that the interviewing process is just as much a time to interview the company as much as it is for them to interview you? Well, although I’m not the first to tell you, they were right. As you get to know the company, take this time to illustrate why YOU are the perfect candidate for the role and even more importantly, their culture.

2. NEVER bad-mouth your employer or current boss. I don’t care if they are the worst ever - just don’t do it.

So maybe you’ve had an unfortunate experience with your higher-up and you can’t wait to leave your current role because they make your life miserable. If that’s the truth, well, I’m sorry to hear that, but keep it to yourself. Employers don’t want to hear that you didn’t get along with your boss or that you didn’t gel well with your last team - it’s actually a red flag. The interviewing experience should be nothing but positive: you want to leave a strong and lasting first impression with your potential employer. If the hiring manager ends up with a feeling that you are hard to get along with, bitter, or prone to conflict or drama, I’ll tell you right now you’ve most likely talked yourself out of that job.

3. Be honest and tactful in your responses. This is your time to shine!

Employers want to get to know YOU. They want to see your personality shine through your work, and they want to understand what motivates you. To most employers, a culture fit is more important than the technical skills required for the job. If they feel like your answers are overly scripted or ingenuine, chances are they won’t remember you once you leave your interview. Now is your time to show your potential company that you are unique, authentic and memorable.

So now you have the basics for interviewing, but stay tuned for our next blog… We’re giving you the lowdown on how to respond to the interview questions that keep you awake at night. You won’t want to miss out on that!