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3 fool-proof ways to impress any interviewer, according to Facebook’s global head of recruiting

Sanjana Ray
13th Mar 2017
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Interviews are a nerve-wracking process. No matter how many times you Google the company on your way to their office, you may still feel like a blank board when you’re asked to sit in the lobby by the receptionist who’s flashing you that sympathetic smile. While it’s a nice gesture on their part, it just reminds your panic-stricken brain that there are countless others who have sat in the same spot and have received that same half-encouraging smile.

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Now imagine that this is Silicon Valley and you’re waiting at the lobby of Facebook’s head office, waiting for the receptionist to lead you down that one game-changing door, behind which lies a decision which could either make you or break you. To Miranda Kalinowski however, the process isn’t quite as dramatic as all that.

As the global head of recruiting for Facebook, Miranda explains that the company follows a more instinct-driven practice when it comes to hiring their talent.

“We want to make sure that we approach recruiting in the same way that we approach the design of the product and the services that we deliver to the world. And that's with the focus on connection. We want to connect to our candidates in the recruiting or interviewing process pretty deeply,” she told Business Insider.

To Miranda, potential candidates waiting anxiously for an important interview can follow a three-step process to impress their recruitment managers. Here’s what we gathered from her interview with Business Insider:

Don’t skimp on the detail

“The interviewer will want to get quite deep into the detail of that situation and listen for what the candidate did and said and thought in those moments so they can really get to know how that person approaches problem-solving.”

A lot of the times, your interviewer may ask you some tricky questions for which you’ll need to think over twice before responding. This could be because of a conflict of interest or because you believe that the answer will tilt the scales lesser in your favour. Whatever be the reason, you may tend to withhold information, which ironically could be the reason you don’t make a lasting impression on your interviewer. In these cases, you cannot afford to be vague or provide incomplete information, because it will only give them a partial view of your story.

Showcase your enthusiasm to build and create

“We hire builders. Regardless of whether we're hiring an engineer or a finance analyst, they're going to be the people who like to build things.”

Facebook wouldn’t be at the top of the Silicon Valley ladder and Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t be one of the richest men in the world if he hadn’t put together a team whose only objective was to build. Be it products, team management or sales campaigns, a company’s drive rests in the desire to build and create something new and possibly better than what exists in the market. Hence, during an interview, cite examples of contributions that you have made in your previous job or university which proved to be an effective game-changer. Equally important is professing your wish to dedicatedly create more of these in the future.

Don’t be afraid to correct yourself

“I decided to pause the interview and say to the interviewer, 'I feel like I've given a bad example and I can think of a better one, do you mind if I start again?'’…The interviewer not only encouraged that, but I think I won some brownie points just in terms of being authentic and having the confidence to ask for that.”

In the course of an ongoing interview, you may have realised a certain point where you messed up and could have delivered a better answer. You might be inclined to not own up to it and let it pass because you don’t want to demean yourself in front the impressionable interviewer. While this is fair enough, chances are that by letting this slip-up pass and not seizing the opportunity to rectify it and state something much more captivating, you’re robbing yourself of the chance to deliver to your maximum potential. Citing her own example from one of her first interviews with Facebook, Miranda states that she probably has the job she does today because she had the presence of mind to stop and correct her mistake. And that brave step was all it took.

Along with these basic pointers, Miranda also encourages aspiring candidates to profusely read up on the company and profiles they are applying for. She even suggests platforms like Glassdoor for guidance. However, to her the most important trick is to walk in with an air of confidence and answer each question to the best of your ability. Essentially, this is what will land you your dream-job.

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