I remember the recruiting calls I made from our first company headquarters – Trish’s basement. It was comfy down there. I conducted phone interviews surrounded by the livestock – Trish’s cat, her large poodle and the overly friendly neighborhood animals who made their way in through the open window.
“Can you tell me a bit about what made you contact us?” I asked a candidate. “Well, actually,” she answered enthusiastically, “my dad said great things about your company. He used to work for Emerson!”
That’s nice but, actually, no he didn’t. At that time, we were just a few months old.
In those early days, the average person thought “Emerson” was a window company or the electric company, depending on their geography. Candidates often said they knew our work, but that was rare.
Today, candidates seem to be as informed about our company as we are. They have worked alongside our employees at client sites, attended our workshops, read our books, and have visited us at our conference booths. They know who we are and they know they want to work with us.
That makes my job harder. The candidates I talk to love Emerson. They love what we stand for, what we do, how we do it and who we are. I love them right back. I sometimes wish I could hire all of them, but I can’t.
Recruiters have to make tough decisions. Want to land a job with Emerson – or any company? Here’s what I recommend:
Impress us with your resume.
If you represent Emerson, you will help clients create business outcomes. There are a lot of documents and deliverables that support those outcomes, and they have to be exemplary. The first deliverable we see is your resume. If we wouldn’t present it to a client, we can’t hire you. Is your resume well written, succinct, good-looking and honest? Great! We’re already interested.
If you are smart, polished, funny or professional, I will love talking to you. But if you are consciously trying to seem smart, polished, funny or professional…you won’t. You will just sound you like you aren’t being yourself. Or, worse yet, you might come off sounding pompous or defensive. We want to get to know the real you. That’s the only person we want to meet.
Do your work.
I talk to some people who misunderstand what we do. If you don’t really understand what we do, your examples will just make things worse – they will prove you don’t know the job you’re applying for.
I talk to other people who DO understand what we do, but they’ve never done it. They’ve been around it, next to it, have a friend who does it, but they’ve never done it. Writing an article about a house fire is not the same thing as being a firefighter. Just be clear and distinct about your experience. Not having every skill we need is better than “stretching” your experience to seem like you do.
Answer the question.
The bulk of an interview is made up of questions and answers. Our conversation will go smoothly if you answer the question that was asked. Sometimes it’s simply too much of a good thing – enthusiasm can make you lose track or talk in generalitiies. Or, maybe you don’t know the answer. That’s ok! It’s always better to be honest. When you are honest, we can have a real and productive conversation and get to the right answer for both of us.
Remember the “I” in team
For the purposes of our interviews, there is an “I” in team. If you’re a great person to work with, you’re probably used to acknowledging other people’s contributions and seeing every victory as a team effort. And we love that – that fits our culture beautifully. But, just for this conversation, I need to know what you did. We’re not hiring your whole team. What was your role? What did you deliver? What difference did you, personally, make to your company or client?
Mind your manners
We are grateful for your interest in our company. We appreciate the time you take in getting to know us. We feel lucky you sought us out as a potential employer. We like it when we can tell you feel grateful, appreciative and lucky too.
We hire experts in behavior change. They are smart, capable, kind, collaborative, down-to-earth people with a great sense of humor. If this describes you, and you take my few bits of advice, we’d love to hire you. Who wouldn’t?