Yes, we're hiring, so this would be a good blog post for you applicants to read, preferably well in advance of applying. We've done a lot of interviews, hired pros to help us, even gone on the word of family and friends in the hiring (or not) process. My partner Chris and I agree on several important things in this regard - and our decisions usually boil down to a few simple things when it comes to hiring an inbound marketing consultant, or anyone else for that matter. Here's our top 10.
- Be Passionate. Show us you care about this position and the opportunity to work with us. If you're not passionate about it, we're going to know that as soon as we meet you in person or on the phone. You can't fake passion. You either have it or you don't. Bonus points: Respond immediately when you are contacted and even send us some key information that's not on your resume.
- Know Your Stuff. I can't tell you how many people we've interviewed for a position who haven't done their homework. Lots. You should know everything about the company, the job, the people you would be working with, everything. It's all available at our website and blog. Why wouldn't you take the time to do that? Because you're not passionate about it, that's why. Bonus points: ask some really in-depth questions about the direction of the company.
- Show Your Stuff. You should already be using principles of inbound marketing to market yourself. We expect to see a dynamite social media presence, blog, website, online portfolio - whatever you have that showcases your talents and experience. We're expecting you to know how to do this stuff, so let's see some social proof. Bonus points: a good record of blogs about inbound marketing, social media, content marketing etc.
- Think About What You're Going to Say. Interviews are more or less all alike, so you should be able to anticipate some of the more obvious questions. We don't want to hear a bunch of rehearsed answers, but well thought-out ones instead. When you're speaking, calm down and think about what you're going to say. You're not at Starbucks with friends. Be professional. Bonus points: we like good story tellers. Tell us a true story or two that will make us want to hire you.
- Dress for Success. This one's a classic. Today's dress code is business casual. No, you can't wear shorts and a T-shirt to work like you can in California. No, this isn't a club and it's not a gym. Those things happen on your own hours. Bonus points: check out pictures of the people who work for us on our Facebook page, find the most conservatively dressed person of your gender, and wear that.
- It's Your Interview. People miss this one a lot. Your interview(s) are a two-way, or sometimes multi-way conversation. Not a grilling. Not an interrogation. The sooner you treat them as a conversation, the faster you will be hired. Don't just answer the questions, ask your own questions or make some observations. Better yet, control the conversation by being a bit assertive. Get to the point. Ultimately, you need to convince us to hire you, remember? So do that. Bonus points: Observe your surroundings and say something about them, or make a comment on today's blog post. Nothing like being on top of things.
- Know What You Want. This should really be #1, because there's no point in even seeking a new position unless you know what you want. Compensation is important, but there's more to compensation than money. What about job content, environment, responsibilities, reporting structure, benefits, company size, growth potential, industry, to name just a few? Think about it. Bonus points: Listen for these things during interviews and other communications. If you don't hear the answers you are looking for, ask. More Bonus points: Do some research and know what compensation people in your area with your experience are getting for similar positions. Good bargaining chip!
- Be All-In. No we're not looking for people who don't yet know what they want. No one does. Don't use the interview process to figure that out either - you are wasting our time and yours by doing so. Go talk to your buddies, your family and best of all, people who are working in the industry. You should be certain before you apply. Bonus points: write your own job description and compare it against available positions. If it's a match, go for it.
- Read the Job Description. In detail. Think hard about whether or not you are really qualified, and be prepared to prove it. Employers don't look for a 60% solution. They want the whole enchilada. If you don't have the skills and the experience, maybe they have internships available or can suggest courses or other ways to gain the necessary skillsets. Bonus points: Tell us why you are a good fit in your cover letter, but be real and transparent about it. If you exaggerate (or lie) you will be discovered, and it may haunt you for the rest of your career. No really.
- Close the Sale. We're all sales people to some extent. We are constantly using our interpersonal skills to sway people our way. Use those skills. Go get the job. Show us why we should stop the interview process today and hire you. It doesn't matter what the job is about, that sales skill will impress us and set you on the right track for the rest of your career. Bonus points (required): Always write a thank you email or letter after any sort of conversation or interview. Summarize the discussion and your takeaways from it. Ask for the job. That's what this whole business is about.
I hope this is helpful. I've been in business for more than 30 years, and I've seen them all. As the Marines would say, "we're looking for a few good men and women." The good ones are hard to find, but they always know how to conduct themselves and they take charge of the hiring process. Take these bits of advice to heart and do some good solid soul searching before you jump in. You'll be doing yourself (and us!) a big favor.
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