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What Impresses Me as an Interviewer

2037224105_12a3338ba0_mI once read from Penelope Trunk that an interview is the easiest thing to go through, sort of like an exam for which you can prepare.  She's right and I've been fortunate enough to hire some amazing people in my career.

The common denominator for impressing a potential boss?  The interview.

So what's impressive to me as an interviewer?  Here is my list:

  • Professional appearance.  Notice that I'm not saying anything about how someone looks- that's pretty subjective.  The key is a professional appearance.  Clothes are ironed, hair is neat, smiles are available.

  • Arriving early.  Nothing says "hire me" like a candidate who arrives early.  It's smart for two reasons- first, it sends a message that you're serious about the job and second, it shows that you plan well in case traffic strikes.

  • Research has been done.  I enjoy when people visit our website (or even my own) and then show up for an interview.  It says that they are ready to do their homework, i.e. the little things that often separate a good candidate from a great one.

  • Questions are intelligent and prepared.  When you get to that point in the interview when the interviewer asks you for questions, make sure that you have 2-3 (but no more) prepared.  You know they're going to ask for them so get ready.  (note: do not ask questions about pay right away; I also suggest avoiding questions about vacation and time off in the initial interviews)

  • Follow up is timely and pleasant.  Nothing says "hire me" like a short but professional email or even note in the mail following your interview.  It reminds the interviewer that you exist and that you are (again) willing to do the little things to get the job done.


If you're not used to hiring or just want a refresher on a great way to interview, I recommend the many podcasts available via Manager Tools.   They provide, bar none, the best resources on what to look for and how to find the best candidates.

*photo by thinkpublic