Learnings From Interviewing Over 500 People

Reflecting on the past 7 years of management, learnings that’ve come up from this role are pretty topical right now. On a Friday, I’ll grab a virtual cup of coffee with someone and next thing I know, I’m being asked ‘hey June, what have you learned as a manager of global teams?’. Naturally, this has brought up a number of questions and of course, a sit with what I actually did learn and what that looks like for me as I move forward in my career and life.

Back in my Lush days, we’d interview hoards of enthusiastic candidates at least four times per year. They’d queue at our shop door for hours in the morning (sometimes from 7am) to take part in a group interview with myself and the wonderful leadership team. It was always rather exciting to be part of them and the different interactions were so much fun as we navigated through the hour and a half of role plays, demos and other out of the box ideas that would work for us to identify the best people to join our team. Fast forward to 2018 and I was fortunate to start a management role at Marketstar (known then as Product2Market). There, I have continued to have a plethora of new learnings while interviewing candidates for my teams, other teams, promotions and of course, exit interviews to chat through questions of the why and how of individuals.

Interviews are an interesting dynamic. They can be made up a mixture of questions, ideas and connection depending on the role, people, company and whether it is in person or over virtual call. A panel can be involved, one on one or a group interaction as I mentioned about Lush earlier on.

Putting your best foot forward is important for interviews but there are so many other factors and learnings that can come from them as an interviewer or interviewee. This has certainly been my experience. Allow me to shed some light.

As an interviewer, we can easily get carried away with what the candidate is saying and asking a decent follow up question. We want them to know that we are challenging them, to ensure they’ve done their prep and are keen to be in this company and job. Meanwhile, as interviewers, it’s important to remember that they are also assessing us. The timeliness, questions, interactions and overall attitude that we bring to the table is a representation of the company and management that they are applying for. Remembering this is imperative to kicking off a strong dynamic from the get-go.

It’s obvious if someone is being genuine or not, this applies to interviews like everything else. Being clear, honest, open and giving thoughtful answers goes a long way in terms of bringing your best self to the table in an interview process. Prepare for possible situational questions ( of course) but be mindful that curve balls will be thrown. This is a real human interaction – don’t follow a script.

Just because it doesn’t have the outcome you wanted, doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. I’ve given many rejections over the years, some were with feedback – others weren’t. There are so many reasons why a role is not for you, noting this is of vital importance in the process. There could be internal candidates, the timelines don’t match or it’s simply not the role for you. Follow your faith.

Learn about you from every experience – add it to your belt and press on. Bringing the best mindset is what will support you no matter what – on your lovely path.

Keep shining x