My friend Rick is a an artist who I met in Charleston earlier this year when I went up there to run a 10k race. I was running the race with Rick's son, so we all stayed at his house in Charleston while we were in town.
While we were staying at Rick's house, I saw a painting that I really liked. I didn't say much at the time because I wasn't sure if it was ok to ask about buying art from an artists' house.
But then Rick brought several of his pieces down to Gainesville for an art show, and that piece was among them. It was for sale, so I made an offer, which eventually turned into an agreement. I'm now the proud owner of this original piece:
Here's the weird thing: It's a mystery why I like this piece. Rick had lots of great pieces at the show, but this particular piece really speaks to me.
Why? Who knows!
All I know is that I saw it, liked it, and eventually bought it.
I used to think hiring managers felt this way about job candidates. They had a job to fill, they posted a job opening online, they got a stack of resumes, they talked to a few candidates, and one of the candidates just seemed like the right fit.
It seemed mysterious, almost magical.
But then I spent a year building a team of 25 Support Engineers, which meant reviewing scores of resumes and interviewing lots and lots of candidates.
The team we built was very good at what they did, and I learned there's a very concrete, tactical side to interviewing, which is unlike evaluating a piece of art.
Let's go back to something I said earlier:
"They had a job to fill, they posted a job description online, they got a stack of resumes..."
Did you catch that?
The hiring manager isn't hoping for a mysterious connection with a piece of art. They're hoping to find a candidate with attributes clearly articulated in their job description. They want a candidate who can help the company or team meet its goals and overcome challenges they're experiencing.
With a job description and a little research, you can position yourself as the candidate for a specific job. It's almost like you can peer into their mind to figure out what sort of art they'll like so you can present it right back to them.
Interviewing can be intimidating, but it isn't mysterious. Your goal in your interviews is to make sure they know that you are that person they're looking for.
My comprehensive guide to answering interview questions shows you how to position yourself as the candidate they want to hire. Even if you're not interviewing right now, you should bookmark this for later. And if you know someone who has job interviews coming up, do them a favor and send them this link: