If you want to get better at interviews, and you have 15 minutes to spare (and $4.99 to spend on a Kindle book or $8.99 on a paperback), Russell Tuckerton has you covered. In his book 15 Minutes to a better Interview: What I wish every job candidate knew, Tuckerton takes his 20 years of experience interviewing for fortune 500 tech companies and sums up the most important parts in a quick, 15-minute, 44-page read.
“Congratulations,” he begins his book. “You’re about to hear ‘direct from the horse’s mouth’ how to interview better. Not from a recruiter, not from a human resources individual, but directly from a person who has made all hiring decisions for my staff over the last 20 years. Hiring managers make all the final decisions. All other roles involved in the interview process are support roles.”
Tuckerton goes on to write that he wants to prevent others from making mistakes he’s seen during his hiring career that have caused qualified candidates to not get the job offer. The information in his book is meant to be immediately useful and will help reinforce the basics that will help job seekers land their next job.
Candace Moody, vice president at CareerSource Northeast Florida, read and reviewed Tuckerton’s book on her blog @Work: a career blog, and she said most of his advice is pretty basic, and notes that she agrees with his points.
“Tuckerton spends a good part of his 44 pages giving examples of good interview answers and how to tell stories that illustrate your strengths,” she writes. “The advice is solid for anyone, but essential if you have a young person who will be graduating and beginning a job search soon. Short, on point, and straight from a hiring manager who’s seen it all.”
Here are his first 12 tips under heading “Get the Basics Right”:
- Dress Up. Tuckerton said he doesn’t care what level or type of job someone is interviewing for. Dressing up shows respect for the company and the individuals interviewing you.
- Whether this is your dream job or not, act as though it is. Tucker ton said he wants people who are excited about his company and the work it is doing. If the job is your second or third choice, he recommends hiding it in there interview because the interviewer will pick up on your lack of enthusiasm.
- Do not rable. Answers should be short and concise unless you are specifically asked to tell a story about your career or background.
- Research the company and our products. “If you don’t demonstrate some initiative ahead of coming in, why would i ever think you;d have any if you were hired,” he writes. Learn enough to ask intelligent questions during the interview.
- This is about what you can do for my team and my company. Tuckerton says not to focus on why the benefits are good for you, instead, demonstrate why you want this position and how your experience and education can deliver what the company needs done.
- When providing examples, emphasize teamwork. “The role of individual contributor sitting in a cube all day is all but gone,” he writes. Companies are looking for people who work well with others and help the entire team win.
- Provide alternate but related examples if you don’t match a direct experience question. Tuckerton says to give examples of skills and challenges that are similar to what the interviewer is asking for and explain how they would make you a perfect fit for the position.
- Don’t volunteer personal information. “I don’t want to know if you have kids, a happy marriage or car problems,” he writes. “Furthermore this speaks to a lack of discipline in protecting what I consider private information, which can be deadly for some positions.”
- Be confident but not arrogant. A strong confident approach will always win over a meek, nervous one, Tuckerton writes.
- Always ask about next steps. “I am amazed at the number of people who never ask about next steps – as if this isn’t important to them,” he writes.
- Your interview starts when you get out of your car/train/bus. Tuckerton writes that many companies include the front desk receptionist, the office tour guide and many others as part of the interview team. Therefore, he recommends treating everyone with respect and show your enthusiasm for the company, as you don’t know when the hidden assessment is occurring.
- You want the job for the challenges and ability to make your contributions based on your skills and experience. “Never come across as just wanting any job or needing benefits or stability, etc. I want people who want the old in my group for the right reasons,” he writes.
To read more of Tuckerton’s tips and advice, check out 15 Minutes to a Better Interview on Amazon. It can only help!