It may happen to you someday. You’ll get that long-awaited phone call inviting you to the next interview. But something’s different this time – you learn that you will participate in a series of interviews with different people at the same company!
Let’s call this the “Multiple Interviewers” experience!
Now that your heart rate has risen a bit, I’d like to share some thoughts on how you can navigate the “Multiple Interviewers” environment and hopefully get that job!
- Make sure you’ve got a consistent story. You need to make sure you don’t waver in your answers during your time with Multiple Interviewers. Any inconsistencies will be discovered. You need to think about your answers to interview questions carefully and demonstrate continuity in your work, goals, motivation, and choices.
- Connect with the person across the desk from you. You want to somehow build good rapport with whoever is conducting the interview. You need to do this carefully too. This is probably more of a time to keep things more personable rather than personal. Remember what you’re there for and be cordial, be polite, but also be aware of the risks of overdoing it. Think about it.
- Don’t spill your guts! You don’t need to tell your life story during interviews. I see this a lot at career fairs when a Veteran comes up to the Employer’s booth and holds up the line telling a “Once upon a time…” narrative. And, don’t let your guard down when meeting and interacting with the people you’ll work with on a daily basis. I’m talking about your interactions with potential future Co-Workers and Peers. You’ve got to stay on point! Don’t be too brief, but don’t be too long-winded either!
- Show a genuine interest in each person’s job and job function. Yes, there’s usually a set of mandatory interview questions prepared ahead of time that you need to be ready for, but you need to figure out how to tie-in what you’ll be doing with what the person you’re talking to does. How does my skill set benefit you? How can I help support your work? Some well-planned questions might help you uncover unmet needs that you might be able to support in your specific role as a new Employee.
- Do your homework on each Interviewer. Keep this on a very professional level. (Think LinkedIn rather than Facebook, for example.) You’ll want to know something about each person’s career. You’ll especially wish to know some of the highlights and headline news they’ve created at their current company. Some research on your part might reveal some areas of interest they have and can guide you to asking great questions that will set you apart from others applying for the job. Also, if you study the company’s News Release section on the website, you might discover some info that helps here. You might ask, “What was your role on Project X?” for example.
- Ask for their business card. Although each Interviewer will probably hand you their card at the outset, don’t forget to ask for one if need be. Thank them and give them your business card. (Yes, you should have some business cards with your basic information on them.) You might wish to ask, “What’s the best way to follow-up with you?” Be prepared for how they answer and make sure to follow their guidance to the letter. For example, some Interviewers may ask you to go through someone else (i.e. the Hiring Manager, their Executive Administrative Assistant, or Human Resources (HR), etc.), so it never hurts to ask. Just be careful how you follow-up.
- Send a Thank You card. Now that you have their contact information, you need to decide (based partly on #6 above) the best way to give thanks. You can opt for email. You can send a hand-written note. You can call them and leave a message. Remember, these Interviewers maintain busy schedules so don’t be surprised if they don’t respond directly to your chosen form of Thank You. Some companies have specific rules on this and communication with prospective Employees may get re-routed through Human Resources or the Hiring Manager.
Ultimately, you want to impress everyone you interview with! You want to show your true colors, and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who you are AND what you can bring to the organization. If you appear to be “the right fit” you can expect that call offering you the job.
The more thumbs up you get during the Multiple Interviewers experience, the more you increase your chances of getting hired!