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Interviewing: Come Bearing Gifts And Prepared To Run Through Walls

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while and Tristan Walker’s latest post on how he got his job at Foursquare inspired me to take the plunge this weekend.

Interviewing is a necessary evil in our society and we all need to go through the process at some point in our lives (unless we’re born entrepreneurs). There are countless books written about the topic and thousands of self-proclaimed experts who try to prep us so we’re ready to handle any conceivable question. There are even entire MBA courses devoted to the subject. Those types of resources have certainly helped hundreds of thousands if not millions of job candidates around the world land the job of their dreams. The reality is, however, that jobs are more competitive than ever before and the traditional interview is changing, especially in the startup world. You’re not going to land the perfect job by just having a solid resume anymore, you need to find ways to differentiate yourself.

Throughout my career, I’ve learned, first hand, that the best resumes don’t always win. The people who win interviews, more often than not, are the ones who run through walls to demonstrate that they’re deeply passionate about the role and the company. They go the extra mile. The winners track down colleagues and acquaintances who are connected to the company and hiring managers. They also send catchy and convincing emails like the one that Tristan sent to Dennis and Naveen. Most importantly, they bring gifts to the interview and shower the hiring manager with confidence. What do I mean by that?

Gifts, in an interviewing context, are the things that resumes will never be able to communicate They’re the ideas, the relationships, the execution, the intangibles that are impossible to capture on paper. There are a variety gifts that a candidate can bring along to an interview and here are some of them based on my experience.

If you take anything away from this blog post, do everything in your power throughout the interview process to prove that you can do the job better than anyone else starting immediately. Show you can deliver value even before you leave your first interview. If you’re successful in doing this, the hiring manager will have confidence in you and you’ll make the hiring decision more difficult. As you can see from above, there are many different gifts (and probably many more) that you can offer to separate yourself from the pack. The next time you’re gunning for your dream job, bring gifts and you’ll be at an advantage. Good luck!

This post originally appeared at Schlaf Notes.

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