Job Search

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!


7 Job Search Tips No One Told Me


-by Haley Garrison

-by Haley Garrison

We’ve all heard that looking for a job is a full-time job on its own, and that’s true when you’re going at it alone. Within my first week working at a recruiting agency, I couldn’t believe that NO ONE had filled me on how much time I would have saved had I partnered with a recruiter. So now that I’m on the other side of the job search (and actually working for a recruiting agency!), here are the 7 tips I wish someone would have told me when I was spending countless hours applying to jobs left and right. Spoiler Alert: Partner with a Recruiter! 

1. Working with a Recruiter Doesn’t Cost You a Dime

This is a big one – many job seekers mistakenly think they have to pay recruiters for their services. In general, the client or hiring manager is actually the one who pays the recruiter for the candidate. The job seeker has the opportunity to utilize free services and land a job without having to pay a dime.  

2. Recruiters Have Opportunities that Aren’t Posted on Job Boards

Recruiters have their own networks, both professional and personal, which means they are aware of a myriad of opportunities that aren’t otherwise searchable on job boards. Their networks are strong and extensive, so they are typically the first to know when a new opportunity opens up. Why not get another person on your team who’s rooting for you? 

3. Recruiters Coach You through the Interview Process

Wondering whether you should bust out the pantsuit or leave the blazer at home? Not feeling so confident with your interview responses? When you partner with a recruiter, it’s like partnering with a coach. These people are industry experts, which means they have a good sense of what the potential interview questions might be and they share that information with you. A good recruiter will prep you for your interview, whether that’s through role play or Q&A. 

4. Recruiters Revamp & Spruce Up Your Resume

When you first submit your resume, a good recruiter will scan your resume not only for work experience, but also for things like typos, formatting issues, inconsistencies, etc. Not sure if you need an objective statement? Need advice on how to explain your resume gap? Rather than just having your mom or significant other proofread your resume, why not have an industry professional review it for you? Now’s the time to shorten, revamp and perfect your resume before your potential employer sees it.  

5. Hiring Managers tell Recruiters the Intangibles They’re Looking for in Candidates

Hiring managers aren’t likely to explicitly write that they want a warm, bubbly and personable candidate with a good sense of humor to gel well with the team on a job description. However, hiring managers are likely to relate this information through direct dialogue with a recruiter - and your recruiter will share this info with you. You’ll know more about a company culture and exactly what they are looking for prior to interviewing. This way, you’ll be able to better leverage your personality and similar interests when meeting your potential employer for the first time.  

6. The Majority of Contract Positions Turn into Permanent Roles

Contract roles are a great way to get your foot in the door, prove your skillset and end up landing a full-time gig at a top company. Before working at a recruiting agency, I saw the word “contract” and thought it might be a 1 day to 1-week role. Those roles do exist, of course, but more often than not, contract roles are actually contract-to-hire, which means the company just wants to make sure you’re a good culture fit before bringing you on full-time. 

7. The Top Companies Only Trust Agencies to Source Talent

Like me, many job seekers go to company websites or job boards to find open jobs on the market. However, most companies (especially those big-name, top-tier companies) don’t actually post their jobs to their website or generic job boards. Instead, these high-level executives work solely with agencies because they have already built a relationship with the recruiter and trust them to provide only top talent. If you want to work for Fortune 500 companies, chances are they won’t be posting their esteemed roles to job boards, so the only way to get your foot in the door is by working with a recruiter. 

Job searching doesn't have to be daunting, and I wish someone would have told me that when I was knee-deep in my own job search. The good news: now you know that when you partner with the right recruiter, you save yourself a lot of time and unnecessary stress - and you get a great advocate to help you find your dream job. 

(And if you’re looking for Administrative or HR roles, call Maven!)