On Tuesday, March 15th, Women in Business held a presentation on how to confidently prepare for and go into an interview. The session was led by Greg Sexton, Vice President of AlphaSights.
He began with an introduction to his company and the services they provide. Alphasights is an information services firm that serves as a connecting platform for linking entities that need knowledge with those who can provide it to them. They are a relatively young company that is at the stage where it is rapidly expanding across the globe and thus also rapidly recruiting individuals. For Greg that means, conducting around 3 interviews a day (around 15 a week) for about 6 months in a year. In short, he has a lot of experience with the interviewing process and had a lot of advice to share on what the secret is to being the ideal candidate and sharing his perspective from the other side of the table.
He started off by saying that his number one tip was to go in with confidence. He explained that it is really easy for interviewers to smell the fear in someone and that is usually a big turn off. It is important to recognise at the start of your interview that the company wants to hire you just as much as you want to be a part of the company. Every interviewee starts off at a very high playing field and the secret is to stay up at that level. On the flipside, make sure that you aren’t trying too hard to please the company. It is really easy for an interviewer to spot someone who is trying so hard to be the “perfect candidate” that isn’t truly being genuine anymore. The best candidates for a job are usually very forthright and honest about their skillset, their goals for the job, and even about other jobs they may be applying to. In fact, Greg shared that this is one of his must-asked questions because inquiring about the other places that a candidate is applying to helps shed light on what sort of skills the interviewee is looking to gain. For example, if the interviewee says that she is applying to really large companies but then says she loves Alphasights because it is a small startup and that that’s the sort of environment she thrives in, one can very easily spot that something is amiss and that the interviewee is not being genuine.
Greg then went on to discuss how to prepare for an interview. His advice was to thoroughly evaluate your own interests and the skills you’d want to learn and then apply to companies that can provide you that learning opportunity. He also mentioned that a really good way to get an idea of what a company stands for is to read through their core values (which would be listed on their website) before going into the interview because that is definitely what their parameters for evaluating you are. Each company has a different set of core values and they take them more seriously than we’d think. So really honing in on those and evaluating whether they match your own values is a really good way to prepare for an interview.
His final piece of advice was specifically to address the difference in confidence levels of men and women while interviewing. He has noticed that women usually take some time to warm up and don’t immediately portray a confident attitude, even if they may be way more qualified than their male counterpart. His solution to this is to really go into the session with the idea that the company would be really lucky to have you and make sure that you have substantial reason to believe that. And he is sure that every woman at Brown has ample reason to believe in their skillset and most importantly, themselves.
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