How to Interview: Chapter 1 (Preview from Positioning Program)

Nailing the Recruiter Interview

Impressing your recruits starts from your very first email.

Sending a cold email can be nerve-wracking, but there's a simple way to set yourself apart from the pack. The trick is to be strategic.  Recruiters can get hundreds of emails a day – if your message is generic, it'll just be ignored. Instead, start with a targeted list of companies. Here are a couple key principles we've learned from Zeit partners and two of Tech's most strategic recruiters, Jordan Woeltje (Talent partner at Twilio)  and Brie Tomaszewski (Talent Partner at Thrive Market).

Key principles when reaching out

Showcase the overlap between your brand and their brand  
Every time you contact a recruiter, include as many specifics as possible about why you're excited about their company, their product, and their brand. It's okay to get personal!

Have your enthusiasm fly off the page
If they make a product you use every day, or work on a cause you're passionate about, this is the perfect time to mention it. Your enthusiasm will make you stand out from the scrum of generic messages.

Key principles during the interview:

Recruiter interviews are all about making a great first impression. Remember, these aren't technical or in-depth interviews so keep them high level and focused. Here are some principles

Be succinct
You don't need to share every single fact about yourself – they'll ask about the things they want to know. Think elevator pitch.

Be strategic
Do your research. Read up on the company as much as possible before your interview. Figure out what their values are, what their product story is, and, as much as you can, what they're looking for. Then, connect the dots for them. Make it crystal clear how your particular transferrable skills make you an asset to them.

Focus on relevancy
Make it crystal clear how your particular transferrable skills make you an asset to them. Go into the interview with a good idea of what strengths you want to emphasize and how they tie into the company's goals. Make sure to share any relevant experience

Focus on recency
The more recent, the better. Be creative! Even if you work in a different field, think of times you've used skills that you'd need in the role you're applying for.

Lots of career pivoters aren't sure how to talk about their skills gaps. But with a little work, your potential liabilities can turn into a huge asset. Recruiters love to hear that you're actively working to make yourself a better candidate. Are you working to earn a certification? Teaching yourself Excel? Mastering the latest graphic design program? Bring it up! It's a great way to show your enthusiasm for the role while demonstrating that you're proactive and self-motivated.

Key Reflections

Look back to your transferable skills analysis and resume work--what are the key points to pull out to hit these on these principles?

What are the 1-2 angles you need to focus on in your conversation with a specific recruiter?

What are the soft skills and cultural values you should dial up to signal you are the right fit?

Feeling unsure? Questions?

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