Like most professionals, Technologists in the job search are eager to get in front of the hiring manager to show off their skills and sell themselves as the best person for the job. Before getting to that person, most interviews begin with Human Resources. Savvy professionals understand the value of this step and realize interview prep here is as important as any along the way. Those who don’t take this stage seriously can stop the process before it gets started – losing the chance to work at a great company doing exciting projects. If your next technology role interview starts with Human Resources, here are some tips to maximize the opportunity.
Build an Alliance
A Human Resource professional or internal recruiter can be one of your biggest allies during the interview process. While not the hiring manager, and maybe not be a tech person, you need to take your meeting with HR as seriously as you do any other interview in the company. You want the HR person to connect with you and advocate your candidacy. Not only will this help move you through the process, they can be a resource for you along the way.
A Chance to Share What You Know
Recruiters will ask questions about your background and skillset relative to the position they are trying to fill, so make sure to review the role and the specific technologies called out in the job description. Practice what you’ll say about your experience with the technologies. And it’s ok to share where you are not deeply practiced, but where you can easily learn. The recruiter won’t expect you to know everything, but will want an honest assessment.
Please Don’t be Condescending
While the HR person’s technology background may not be as extensive as yours or others with whom you’ll be interviewing, be enthusiastic and appreciative of their role in the process. Try not to be annoyed or condescending if they are not technical or if they don’t understand something you’re explaining. The HR person’s strengths are different from yours. They are assessing behaviors and traits required for the role more than technical skills. HRs role is to look at not only the position but how it fits in the bigger picture.
Prepare in Advance
Just as you would do for the hiring manager, do your research and prepare questions in advance of your interview with HR. If you walk in cold to the HR interview, you may never get to that next step. Your questions for the HR manager will likely differ from the hiring manager and can include things like:
• What about my background/resume caught your attention?
• How long has the role been open?
• What has been lacking from candidates you’ve interviewed or resumes you’ve seen?
• How would you describe the culture here?
• What is the average tenure of an employee? Does that statistic differ in different departments?
• How does the company support professional development?
• What is the interview process like? What should I expect?
• As the interview wraps up ask: (1) is there anything about my background we haven’t covered or that you need additional information on? And (2) How does my skillset match what you need?
Aligning and building a rapport with the HR person will serve you well whether you land the role or not.
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