In 2002, Ann Hiatt had worked in Silicon Valleybut had no contact at amazon, and as if that were not enough, no degree in engineering or systems expert that would endorse her for her position. “Absolutely no experience working for a CEO,” she said in an interview with CNBC Make it.
Regardless of her weaknesses, the woman was hired on the spot after successfully and confidently answering two short questions asked by the richest man in the world according to the Forbes list of 2021, Jeff Bezos.
Ann Hiatt’s tips for a successful job interview:
1. Talk passionately about your hobbies and interests
“The people I hired or worked with at Google were proudly quirky. They had interesting hobbies, deep knowledge, and passions outside of their jobs,” she says.
But none of them would stop at saying “I like gardening” or “I love building furniture”. Instead, they showed how they came to love or develop an interest in something through more thoughtful and engaging ways.
“For example, one candidate who was an avid climber spoke about how it is a meaningful activity because her father had always dreamed of climbing Mount Everest, but never had the opportunity to do so.”
Chances are, he says, your recruiter won’t forget a detailed, personal story so quickly.
2. It is allowed to talk about what you do not know
“Nobody wants to hire a know-it-all,” says Hiatt, and that’s something he considers one of the most common mistakes candidates make: overemphasizing what they’re good at.
For many interviewers, this may be a “red flag” or warning sign of someone who likes to play it safe and not take risks. “Speak better about the areas you are interested in improving, the skills you want to develop, and your ambitions.”
3. Don’t use “I”, use “we”
Using phrases like “my team” or “we” gives a clue as to whether you can handle teamwork adeptly. When you use the word “I” a lot, it can mean that you are more focused on your personal wins and credits and not those of the company.
Speaking in the first person plural, explains Hiatt, sounds “much more sophisticated” and is rare to see in a candidate.
4. Failures also count
When I was working with Google, remember, we celebrated our failures because they are an opportunity to learn and be better.
“The best employees are energized and motivated by their failures. So share examples of times when you had to scrap a passion project and apply what you learned to a new one,” he said.
5. Go for the future, regardless of the job description you’re applying for
The last thing a manager wants to hear is a repetition of the job description you’re applying for, says Hiatt, for which he has a very personal anecdote:
“I had been working at Google for three years when I walked into former CEO Eric Schmidt’s office and told him I was ready to be chief of staff. I developed a roadmap (all the actions to be carried out in the medium and long term to optimally achieve a goal) of what the position could be like and how I could develop the skills to take the company to the next level”.
The point, he added, is to show that you have a vision of what your role in the company could look like in a year or two.
Ann Hiatt recently founded a consulting firm with CEO clients around the world. At the firm, she applies the lessons of innovation, ambition, large-scale growth, and leadership lessons she learned at Amazon and Google. She is also the author of the book Bet on Yourself: Recognize, Own and Implement Innovative Opportunities.
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Job interview tips from the woman who surprised Jeff Bezos | Biz Point