Interview Tips from Industry Influencers |

Interview Tips from Industry Influencers


Do you ever wonder what real industry leaders are really looking for when they hire? Wonder no longer. LinkedIn’s fantastic Influencers on How They Hire series offers a treasure trove of information on what employers are looking for in new hires. Below are a few highlights, but do yourself a favor and check out the series for yourself. It is more than worth it.

In fact, many mentioned that they often set up questions, not for the answer, but for your reaction and reasoning abilities.

  1. It’s not about getting the answer right. In LinkedIn Senior Editor Francesca Levy’s blog, What the Best in Business Look for When They Hire, a majority of the time your answers to questions are less important that other factors. In a survey of influencers, they responded that the quality of conversation and the way candidates thought about the question before answering were critical. In fact, many mentioned that they often set up questions, not for the answer, but for your reaction and reasoning abilities.
  2. It’s not about the years, it’s about the mileage. Diego Rodriguez, Partner at IDEO, laid out his thoughts on experience in his blog, How I hire like Indiana Jones. He feels that you don’t need years of experience to have made an impact. The number of times you’ve taken a product to market or life experiences, not necessarily job related, where you have created something from nothing holds a lot of sway in his book
  3. It’s also not always about where you went to school. In How I Hire: I Don’t Care Where You Went to School, Tom Keene, Editor at Large, Bloomberg Television & Radio, quotes colleague and top-notch talent-finder Ted Fine on his hiring process in the industry.I want smart people who want to learn. It doesn’t matter who you know, where you went to school, or where you grew up. It does matter what you know, what you read, and what you watch. I want people who have an edge. When I meet you for the first time, you should have an opinion about Bloomberg Television. I am most impressed by the things you don’t like (tell Tom Keene that’s a Type II construct). This is a business network, so let’s talk about business stories. You probably should know a few things about me too.”
  4. Taking it beyond addressing the job description. In his blog, How I Hire: It’s Not Just What You Answer, It’s How. David Edelman, McKinsey Partner Digital Marketing Strategy Practice, says he looks for specific qualities in an interview: Curiosity, entrepreneurial thinking, implication consideration and comfort being on “stage.”“ … key for me is not looking just for a candidate’s answers, but seeing how they work through the ping pong of the discussion, ask questions, explore options, and consider implications. Over time, I have found that the best candidates go with the flow and push back as much as they try to take what I give them in the discussion.”
  5. Do the interview right. Tim Brown, CEO at IDEO,  shares hit tips in How I Hire: 5 Tips for Landing a Job at IDEO.  The top four qualities he looks for is:
    + They say “we” more than “I” when recounting accomplishments. It screams team player.
    + They talk about failures, not just wins. Often more is learned from failure than success.
    + They’ve spent time teaching as well as learning. Having degrees shows subject mastery, but teaching shows commitment to making others successful, too.
    + They’re nice to the receptionist. That goes without saying.
  6. “Real” references can go a long way. Good employers know that great interviewers may not be all that they are cracked up to be. So, back what you say with great references – these are not just people that think you are a nice person. They are people who know how you work, know your weaknesses and strengths and can speak to your work ethic — “real” references, if you will. According to Nicholas Thompson, Editor of in How I Hire: Quiz Candidates and Grill References, he is going to ask some tough questions when he calls those on your reference list. Make sure you have people who can answer the specifics.