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Why the Interview is the Start of a Relationship (or the END of One)

Stacy Pursell

The VET Recruiter ®

There’s no doubt that a job interview is extremely important in terms of a person’s job search, and subsequently, the future of their career. That’s why we’ve devoted so many of our newsletter articles and blog posts to this topic.

However, it has occurred to me that some professionals in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession have not fully grasped what an interview really is.

And when I refer to an interview, I mean both a phone interview and a face-to-face interview. Yes, an in-person interview is inherently more important because it represents a next-step event over a phone screening. However, for the purposes of this blog post, the rules that apply to the face-to-face interview also apply to the phone interview.

Case study with problems aplenty

Let’s start with a story, or perhaps more accurately, a case study. Case studies are one of the best ways to learn.

I recently interviewed a candidate over the phone. However, that candidate kept interrupting me during our conversation. She wanted to focus on talking about her priorities instead of focusing on what she could offer to my client. (I’ll explain why that approach is a mistake in just a minute.)

The priorities that this candidate wanted to discuss during the interview were compensation and work-life balance. I asked numerous times what her exact compensation expectations were. In each instance, she did not answer the question. As you would agree, it would be difficult for me to address her priorities if I don’t know exactly what her expectations are.

So let’s review the problems evident in this case study:

Problem #1—The candidate ignored the “Principle of Reciprocity.”

According to this principle, when someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give them something in return. Conversely, when you first give something to someone else, they will feel compelled to give something to you in return. How does the “Principle of Reciprocity” apply to this case study?

Remember that everything in the world of employment comes down to value. What the candidate should have emphasized is the potential value that she could bring to the organization. After all, that’s what the organization is seeking. The hiring manager has a position they want to fill, and they’re focusing on finding a candidate who has the value necessary to fill it. Focus on what you can give the employer first. After that, then you can focus on what the employer can give you in return.

Problem #2—The candidate talked more than she listened.

Active listening is a skill that every Animal Health and Veterinary candidate should possess. As a recruiter, I talk to a LOT of people on a daily basis. However, I’ve discovered during my career that I learn more if I listen more than I talk. You learn a lot just by sitting and listening.

When you interrupt people during an interview and you’re not an active listener, then it’s almost impossible to grow your career. Active listening is a very valuable skill, one on which I encourage every professional to focus.

Problem #3—The candidate made it evident that she would be difficult to work with.

When you first speak with someone, especially in a setting such as interview, you’re giving an indication of how future interactions will transpire. If you make that initial contact difficult in some way, then the other person is going to think that future interactions are likely to be difficult, as well. People tend to shy away from things that they believe are going to be difficult. It’s simply human nature. The last thing you want to do in an employment or job search situation is brand yourself as someone who is going to be difficult to work with.

The “first date analogy”

Here’s how you should view an interview, and it doesn’t matter if that interview is with a recruiter or if it’s with a hiring manager or potential new employer. An interview is the start of a relationship.

If the interview is with a recruiter, it’s the start of a relationship in which that recruiter can work to help you find a great new employment opportunity. If the interview is with a hiring manager, it’s the start of a relationship that will hopefully end with you as an employee of the same organization of which the hiring manager is an employee. That means you’ll be coworkers.

As such, you should be highly motivated to start that relationship in the best way possible. That does NOT mean focusing on the things that you want. When you’re on a first date with someone, do you only talk about the things that you want? No, you don’t. That’s the quickest way to make sure there will be NO second date.

Conversely, if you ignore the “Principle of Reciprocity” and you talk more than you listen, then the interview can be the end of the relationship. Basically, it’s ending before it even has a chance to get started. That means no great new employment opportunity. Because when the relationship ends, so do the chances that you’ll be able to land that opportunity.

Getting what you want in life is all about finding out what other people want and then working to give them those things. This definitely applies to the world of employment.

When you interview, you have the chance to start a new relationship, one that can benefit you greatly in the long run. As a result, you should focus on what you can give to the other person or the other party. Focus on the value that you can provide. Focus on how you can solve their problems.

Getting what you want is all about giving other people what they want first. That’s the best way to create long-lasting relationships and also the best way to grow your career, not just in the short term but also for the long haul.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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