Sufi Stories

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Interview Formats By Different Interviewers

  1. Human Resources
  2. Company’s Internal Recruiter
  • Where HR guy or the internal recruiter fits in the interview process: These people have very little say in the actual hiring of the person. However they may act as doorkeepers and filter out many of the resumes from reaching the hiring manager. However the HR guys do weigh in on the finalization of details, benefits and compensation plans.

  • How they think: These guys in most cases are the low paid, back-office boys who have little say in the actual organizational initiatives. They always go by the ‘text-book’, written company policies etc.

  • What would they ask? If the HR guy or the internal recruiter at all talks to you, he will want to see how closely you fulfil the requirements spelled out in the actual job description. Similarly, if he reviews your resume he would be looking at red flags which indicate that you do not fulfil some obscure company rule or skill required in the job description. That is why – wherever possible it’s best to send the resume directly to the hiring manager.

  • What should be your approach: Do not volunteer any information which conflicts with the job description. Since the first screening is by the text-book – confirm that you satisfy all the criteria in the job ad. If the job ad says Java then do not say J2EE in your interview even though they are similar. If you need to negotiate regarding compensation, travel time etc – then save it for later when you actually talk to the hiring manager. The HR guy or the internal company’s recruiter do not have any authority or willingness to be flexible regarding the rules. The hiring manager must talk on your behalf to the HR guys regarding any special benefits for you.

Corporate Recruiter (External agency hired by the company to provide a list of candidates)

  • Where recruiter fits in the interview process: Most large companies hire recruitement firms or individual recruiters to find suitable candidates. Typically the recruiter finds the candidate from job boards, LinkedIn, personal contacts etc and does an initial screening interview – over phone or face-to-face. Then he forwards the resume to the hiring manager for the next set of interviews.

  • How the recruiter thinks: The recruiter wants to find out if he can “sell” you to the company. He gets paid only if you are hired. So he wants to identify any obvious shortcomings. If you seem a good candidate the recruiter would help you prepare for the follow-up interviews by providing insider information.

  • What would the recruiter ask? The recruiter would want to know if you can stand behind what you have written in your resume. He would also want to know when you would be available for the next interviews with the hiring managers.

  • What should be your approach? Be clear and honest about what you want. Build a good rapport and then ask the recruiter to help you get insider information about the company.

Peer Interviews (Interviews by your future team members)

  • Where the peer interviews fit in the hiring process? The peer interviews are one or more interviews conducted by people who would be your team members if you are selected. A few senior people from your future team are selected by the hiring manager and their mandate is to verify the skills and accomplishments you have mentioned in your resume.

  • How the peer interviewers think: These are your future team members. Apart from verifying the correctness of the information you have provided – they would also like to gauge if you would prove to be a cooperative and amiable team member to work with.

  • What would this group of interviewer ask? They would have been given a clear insruction by their manager to verify how closely you reflect the attributes mentiond in your resume. Their questions may relate to specific technical or process related aspects of your work.

  • What should be your approach? Treat this group of interviewer as your equal. Engage with them in a 2-way discussion about the topic they are talking about. Ask them questions about the team and the company since they would be your future team members if you are selected.

Hiring Managers

  • Where the hiring manager fits in the hiring process? The hiring manager is the most important decision maker in the whole process. He makes a final decision on whether to hire you and then works with the Human Resources department to get your offer letter finalized.

  • How the hiring manager thinks: He is looking at your.all around ability to make his team – and more importantly, him – successful.
  1. Senior Executive
  2. Business Owner
  • In large organisations, an interview with the senior executive happens when you have already been given a green signal by your hiring manager. The fact that you are meeting the senior executive usually means that you are 90% “in”.

  • In very small companies, the senior executive or the owner plays a bigger role in evaluating the candidate. If this is your case then treat it as an interview with hiring manager.

Warren Buffet said he looks for three attributes – intelligence, integrity and energy – in the candidates he interviews. Identify a few succes stories which highlight not only your hard skills but also these three attributes.