Do’s and Don’ts of an Interview | Part 3: Relationships

Part 3 of 5 in the “Do’s and Don’ts of an Interview” series will focus on relationships.    As a refresher the 5 primary categories I am discussing include:

  1. Personality
  2. Experience
  3. Relationship
  4. Communication
  5. Long Term Outlook

The term “relationship” can be used in many ways, but when I am interviewing someone, I want to make an instant connection.  How can I forge that quick connection?  Personally, I look for 3 keys items; knowledge (what do we know about each other), experiences (relating “real world”experience to each other) and business acumen (understanding the mutual business insights of each other).

I ended each definition with “each other”, because the interview involves two people.  Each person is meeting with a purpose in mind and the end result is the formation of a relationship.

6 months ago I interviewed a young lady for a sales role.  Within the first few minutes I knew she had knowledge of our industry, she related her experiences to some of my personal experiences when I was in that role and her insight into business was clearly expressed.  She interviewed a few days later and I was blown away by how much she knew about me professionally, our company and the position we were hiring.  She got the job and is doing a wonderful job! 

Note:  It did not hurt that she agreed to interview at 7:00 a.m and brought us bagels because she knew we would be hungry that early! Point is, she had the 3 keys!


  • Really research the company you are interviewing with.  You should know what they do, company size, locations, a little about their operational methodology, basically as much as you can!
  • Research (LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Plaxo) the people conducting the interviews,  if possible.  In the story above, turns out we were both alumni of The University of Alabama and I actually knew her brother in school (small world and instant connection)
  • Know about the role for which they’re being interviewed:
    • regular tasks
    • typical goals
    • key accountabilities
    • expected deliverables (week 1, month 1, 6 months, 1 year)
    • Be able to demonstrate how you can perform these initiative and provide clear examples from your past.  Past actions predict future behavior!

Real World Experience

  • Relate your professional experiences to the goals and objectives of the company.  What can you do for them vs. what can they do for me!
  • Chances are the hiring manager has performed your role, the more you know about them, the better you can relate your experiences to some of their past experiences.
  • Discuss your career transitions and how you handled them; i.e.  when you went from an individual contributor to manager, when you left college and went to work for the 1st time.

Business Acumen

  • All employers want to know that you understand how business in general works AND that you have an understanding of their business
    • Metrics driven resume = metrics driven employee
    • See the big picture, it is about the company not you (communicate this)
  • Be able to talk to your interviewer about recent company results, products, projects, mergers, acquisitions and share performance.  This will show them that you are truly interested in their business as opposed to just getting a job somewhere.
  • When interviewing, you should be able to discuss their company’s recent business events with the hiring manager, but be ready to give your opinion, most likely they will ask!
  • Answer questions with specifics and numbers (“Data entry made up 60% of my summer internship” or “I input 2500 client files into our database”)

I am certain many items could be added and welcome all comments!  When you interview there is limited time to build a relationship –  focus on these keys and you will be a step ahead of everyone else!

Next we will discuss communication, which is my favorite topic of all.  Communication is the real purpose for an interview, however don’t think of it as just verbal!

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6 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts of an Interview | Part 3: Relationships

  1. All Very True Alex!! Great post and so true that building strong, true Relationshiops are key. Thank you for the great information.

    All My Best,


  2. I wonder how appropriate would it be for many to take in a munchy to the interviewer. Well interviewers may get offended and all may not be likeminded like you. But many facts were very relevant, and note worthy. Nice article.


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