An interview can make or break your future with a company.
You could be a perfect match on paper…but how can you prove this in person?
We sat down with Lori Kohara, ‘ike’s Vice President of Human Resources, and Alex Madrigal, ‘ike’s Human Resources Generalist, to get their insight on what interviewers look for in potential employees.
#1: Craft a good résumé
A solid résumé is very important to have because it’s what initially gets the recruiter’s attention. Outside of technical aspects that align with the position you’re applying for, what else do recruiters notice?
“I like to look at diversity in their past,” says Alex, explaining that many college graduates won’t have a lot of work experience to their name when they first start interviewing. “Sometimes if a candidate isn’t fully qualified but they have other extracurricular activities—like attending seminars or taking on leadership roles in college clubs—it proves they’re learning and growing, which is always something that catches my eye.”
However, if you’re someone with experience who’s looking for a job in a particular sector, recruiters look for growth. “I’m always interested to see career progression,” explains Lori. “And career progression doesn’t just mean promotions. It can also be lateral transfers to learn a new function or industry. I’m looking at the explanation behind the positions. Intentional movement can demonstrate the ability to take risks, which is a characteristic we’re looking for as we look to hire and develop future leaders.”
#2: Dress to impress
The first thing your recruiter will see is your appearance. “You need to dress for the job,” explains Alex. “Like anywhere else, appearance is important. Companies like ‘ike in the technology and health care industries aren’t the most formal. However, it’s important to be well groomed and dressed professionally. Coming in with a T-shirt and shorts shows a lack of professionalism and interest in the job.”
#3: Smiling, body language, and the handshake
“At ‘ike we have a very friendly working environment, so smiling in an interview is great,” explains Alex. “We spend a lot of time here, so we want to be around pleasant, friendly people. We want our recruits to demonstrate that same level of friendliness.”
Answering your interviewer’s questions thoughtfully is extremely important, but one thing people forget is their body language.
“Body language is important,” explains Alex, “as you engage with the interviewer, showing interest by making eye contact and being confident with not only your voice, but with your body. Good posture, sitting up straight, facing the interviewer, that’s a good starting point.”
And the handshake…don’t forget the handshake!
“A good handshake and eye contact are key in leaving a good first impression,” says Lori. “A good handshake is firm and confident, but not too aggressive—it’s really a measure of professionalism.” An interview handshake will occur when you greet your interviewer, as well as when you thank the interviewer for their time at the end of your interview.
#4: Do your homework on the company
“At the end of the interview you’ll find the interviewer asking if you have any questions about the company,” explains Lori. “I’m always interested in the questions people ask me at the end of an interview because the questions they ask determine whether or not they did their homework. Do they know about our company, what we do, our values, etc.? It’s good to ask thoughtful and intelligent questions, not just questions focused on salary and benefits. It also gives me insight into what motivates them. If they’re asking questions around values and purpose then that shows a level of intrinsic motivation.”
#5: Network and get involved in the industry
“Networking is extremely important,” explains Alex, “especially in a small state like Hawaii. You can start in high school or college getting involved in the industry you’re interested in. Attending different events, career fairs, or open events the companies might have—meeting people, and showing you’re actually involved within the network. Another big networking opportunity these days is being online and having a professional profile where recruiters can find you on business sites like LinkedIn. It’s all about putting yourself out there.”
#6: Be yourself and know your purpose
“I think the most important thing is just being yourself, “explains Alex. “It’s really important to come in and just be who you are; not just for us, but for yourself. If it’s not the right fit, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s better than trying to be who you think we want you to be and get into a role where neither side is comfortable. Even if it’s not a fit, from a networking perspective, it’s still a win because maybe you’ll be better for another position or place. Also, it’s important to know your purpose. How does your individual purpose connect to the company’s core values…what is your real driver?”
#7: Remember it’s still your decision in the end
“I think it’s important for people to know the power isn’t all on one side of the table,” explains Lori. “It can be a little intimidating when you come in to an interview because you feel as though you’re being judged. But remember that you’re also assessing the interviewer and the company to figure out if this is a job you can really see yourself doing. Ask yourself: can I picture myself working with this person who is sitting across the table from me? Am I aligned with the organization’s core values? Does the mission of the company make my heart sing? You’re interviewing the company as well to make sure they’re a good fit for you.”
Are you an innovator who wants to make an impact in the community and the world around you? Are you looking for a career with a purpose? Here at the ‘ike family of companies we are always looking for bright, innovative minds to join our team. Connect with us at https://ikehawaii.com/careers/ to check out opportunities in our family of companies.