Every interview is a chance to get better – Practical tips from 14 mock interviews with Elpha membersFeatured

10 months ago I became the first recruiting hire at Zeus. We went into hyper-growth right after I joined and grew the team from 40 people to 150 in 6 months across 4 cities as a one-woman team. I’ve done more phone screens than I ever care to count, built the recruiting process from the ground up, and seen every kind of candidate walk through our doors. In an effort to give back and share some of the knowledge I’ve gained, I offered to do mock job interviews via Elpha. I ended up speaking to 14 people on different tracks. They all had different levels of experience, but similar topics always seemed to surface.When I’m answering a question, I want to make sure I tailor it to something the company is looking for. How do you find out what they are looking for?In order to figure out how to best tailor your answers to the company you’re applying for, you need to understand their DNA. The best way to gain that insight would be to look at their values. Most companies post their values on their Careers or About pages - those values are the lens interviewers are looking through when interviewing you. A word of caution - keep it authentic. Any time it sounds like you’re repeating their values inauthentically as buzzwords, it will work against you. Regardless of which story you choose to share in response to their question, allow the interviewer to gain some insight into who you are and how you work. What are interviewers looking for when asking about your weaknesses?!The specific wording will change company to company, but some question asking about your weaknesses will inevitably come up. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. That is an inevitable part of business. What an interviewer is looking for with this question is to better understand your humility, how you handle feedback and most importantly, your self-awareness. When coming up with a response, give a specific example of an actual weakness, how it manifested in that situation without putting fault on other people. Take responsibility for your actions and talk about how that experience shifted your thinking going forward. I like to talk about a weakness that I’m currently working on which shows a self-awareness but also shows a bit of initiative that this isn’t something that won’t change. Every interview is a chance to get betterDon’t read from a piece of paper, don’t over-rehearse responses, and don’t sound robotic. The goal of an interview is to understand who you are and what makes you tick. The interviewer is trying to access if you’re a good fit for the role, which becomes all the more challenging when you’re not offering an authentic version of yourself. The robotic nature of that interview style could lead someone to believe you can’t think on your feet. Overall, just be a human!Every interview is a chance to get better. Leverage every interview as a learning experience and a chance to gather more information about the role you’re looking for, what you are looking for in a company, and what questions you’ll be asked. Jot down the questions you were asked after each interview, it’ll help you better prepare for the next one! What's a practical interview tip that you've found useful? Share in the comments below!Allison was previously the founder of Engaged & Inspired, a top 10 online wedding publication and full-service wedding planning firm executing over 60 events per year. She created a native iOS app and web platform which had over 4,000+ active vendors and a 65% monthly booking rate. After selling the company in 2017, she has worked as an operations manager for product and business teams and most recently took on a Head of Recruiting role at Zeus Living where she started as the first recruiting hire, built the interview process internally and 3x the team size growing from 50-150 people in 6 months, and built the recruiting team to 4.
kuan's profile thumbnail
Thank you Allison for offering those mock interviews, and for sharing the tips with us. Do you have a practical interview tip to share? Let us know in the comments below.
quinneyeQ's profile thumbnail
Allison, thanks so much for sharing. I love reading practical tips!I enjoyed this point in particular: "Most companies post their values on their Careers or About pages - those values are the lens interviewers are looking through when interviewing you." Understanding and being interested in a company's DNA is ultra important when interviewing; on the flip side, there is also an onus on the company to be *very clear* about what their values and mission are so that they can attract best-fit candidates -- something to keep in mind when one is posting a job opening on any platform, Elpha included! :)
emilyeley's profile thumbnail
Thanks for the great tips, @allisonsilber! I especially like the tip about viewing each interview as an opportunity to get better. Too often I see clients miss the learning opportunity and quickly scratch the interview from their memory because it didn’t go “perfectly”. Each time is a beautiful opportunity to practice your pitch, figure out what’s landing, and learn what needs to be added for the next time. Thanks for these!
jessicagrayson's profile thumbnail
You have and continue to provide great insight. I have realized that being genuine is half the battle. It is hard to create a great "pitch" for yourself if you don't really feel it.