How to Prepare for Interviews (Part 1 of 5): What is the hiring manager looking for? | Life In Tech by Bessy Tam

How to Prepare for Interviews (Part 1 of 5): What is the hiring manager looking for?

Published on 21 December 2020 by Bessy Tam | Filed in Interview & Informational Chats

So today we'll be talking about how to prepare for interviews, whether this comes with:

  • What are they looking for? 
  • What is the structure like?
  • Who am I working with if I get into this role
  • What relevant experiences should I bring up in the interview

In this video, we'll be talking about 3 key strategies when it comes to researching or preparing for interviews

I'll also have a video from a live call that I had with one my readers, to show you exactly how I would approach it. 

If you're interested in learning more about how to best prepare for interviews (especially for behavioral questions) and what to expect for interviews with 40+ real example questions, then feel free to subscribe and get the 25-pg Ultimate Interview Prep Guide here for free!

3  Strategies to Find Out What the Hiring Manager is Looking For

#1 Job Descriptions

First and foremost, there's this job description. So you want to be able to take out:

  • Key terminologies and keywords that they use to describe the role
  • How the role actually interacts with other people in the team, company, or externally
  • Who are the point of contacts?
  • What are the main role and responsibilities that helps you drive influence and impact within the company?

Anything that talks about impact you want to write down so that you can customize your interview answers. Here I show a screenshot of my reader in the video, who is moving from a Vendor Management/Events role in Media & Entertainment, interviewing for a Global Supply Manager role at Apple.

I've gone ahead and highlighted a few key job responsibilities

The job description generally says 1% of the day-to-day job by itself. You don't  know based on this job description who the suppliers are, how many suppliers there are, what the product strategy is, which countries the role works with, who the competitors are, what product from Apple are we covering, what seasonality may look like, the business challenges or goals of the team, etc.

This brings us to point #2


#2 LinkedIn Profiles with the Same Title

Then, you want to research using the job title and the specific company within LinkedIn profiles.

You want to look at:

  • What companies or roles they're switching coming from
  • What other roles title there may be in surrounding teams
  • What locations are relevant for the title
  • How they describe their role
  • What teams or departments there are

This way you can better understand which department they're in, how it's structured, and what the nature of the job is

You can also find common themes as you research more people with the same titles. Out of all of these people who have the same title, they actually hire a lot from these types of industries, these types of companies.

For example, In this profile, we are able to learn that:

  1. There are other titles called Strategic Sourcing Manager and Manufacturing Program Manager. These jobs may have different responsibilities but may work as a wider team. It may be worthwhile to learn more about the other titles as well
  2. There are various teams such as "DRAM GSM" and "SOC GSM" and "NPI" -
    1. GSM likely means Global Supply Manager
    2. NPI likely means New Product Innovation.
    3. Generally, additional research may help you understand what the above teams mean and how each department or unit may work with different products
  3. The scope can differ across various Apple products including memory parts, node SOCs or as this person said "Application Processor". Understanding the Apple product can allow my reader to to discover alignment and relevant experiences within their current scope (not phones but maybe fast moving, continuously innovating products that require dealing with manufacturers)
  4. People can move internationally within this company. Looks like this person moved from Korea to California
  5. A Global Supply Manager role has unique responsibilities that include negotiations, planning, managing, It will be important to highlight these relevant experiences within job interviews

While it's more comfortable to read thins online and scroll through articles, reading descriptions are not enough.

You only have 5% (at most) of the context, so this is why it's important to go through this next step.

#3 Outreaches or Setting Up Informational Conversations

Last but not least, make sure you reach out to them! I talked a lot about this in my articles, videos, and free webinars - this is my winning strategy called outreaching strategies.

To do this, you're not meant to ask them for the job or a referral, but more to learn more about their past experiences and success.

To reach yout you can say:

"Hey, I saw that you transitioned from X company to X company. I really love your journey and would love to learn more. If you're free for 15 minutes after 5:00 PM CST on Monday to Fridays, I'd love to chat more

[Name] [Phone Number]"

The outreach message within the 300 character Connection Request message on LinkedIn is lightweight, very simple, but it's also friendly.

Just like dating, you don't want to jump in and ask them to be your boyfriend or girlfriend. You want to get to know them and talk to them first.

You don't have to use up all your LinkedIn searches or get Premium at all. You can use my quick Google Search "LinkedIn Hack" to avoid the search limit and never pay for premium to find and reach out to the right people. 

It is: "Title - Company" site:linkedin.com

We just "hacking" how Google results displays Linkedin roles and responsibilities. This allows you to "go through the list"

For example, when I searched "Global Supply Manager - Apple" site:linkedin.com , there were 10 pages of results. This gives you ample people to connect with. Don't worry about their location or past experiences. The outreach message will still be a similar message. 

You can expect a 30% response rate based on this outreach method.

 So after all of this research, make sure you put this into your interview, prep doc, I actually have an Ultimate Interview Prep Guide here to show you exactly the top strategies and 43 specific questions that are commonly asked within interviews.

If you want to learn more about how I do this live, feel free to watch the YouTube Video starting at 3:00

Want to learn more about how to ace interviews in tech? Download the free guide below

Let me know in the comments below or in the video, how this article and strategy has helped you answer "Why do you want to join this company?" well. Even better, tell me how its helped you ace your interview or land your dream job!

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About the Author

Bessy Tam is a career coach who helps busy professionals get into their dream non-tech job in tech. She’s helped dozens of clients get interviews and offers from companies such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Lyft, Amazon, Babbel, & More. She currently works at Google in Chicago.

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