Keys to Interviewing Success

Trebuchet success as a private equity firm demands that we take people at their best. Our investors and partners and co-workers deserve to work with the best people. We have no allowance in the organization for candidates that are looking to keep their head down and cruise through.

Our culture will not allow this and our investors rely on us to achieve exemplary returns. We take in people that have pride in hard work, completeness and want total self control. This article includes some pointers and serves two purposes, to scare off weak candidates and inspire worthy ones to build on their professional success.

 

Success, can be summed up by the single word, preparedness.

The best, brightest and most ambitious people climb the corporate ladder by being prepared. They have assembled a framework for anticipating situations that they may encounter.

An interview can be a great way to forward your career, and candidates can follow this framework to differentiate themselves and be outstanding.

Go to the corporate website get a feel for culture and objectives, look at the management and the board of director’s experience set, ask yourself:

  • Why are these people here now?
  • What kind of companies do they come from?
  • What do they want to do here?
  • In what way or ways is this company different? Or are they the same as everyone else?
  • What problems are typical for a company like this?

Prior to interview

  • Prepare a 30 second to 3 minute pitch about your last deal or a project you did prior, keep it compelling and tight- rehearse it.

If in executive leadership type role

  • Put together a strategic plan for marketing the fund, think steps and specifics- this shows how you are better/different

In other roles, including leadership

  • Think about what where most companies go wrong in this industry and how you know better- give examples
  • Bring a “BIG IDEA” Prepare a rough outline of how the company can scale your potential division, lower their cost of capital or introduce new processes that are simple to implement and makes people’s work easier and were you fit in.
  • Think about what next step you want to take in your career, and what you have accomplished and want to accomplish

Common to all

In all types of business organizations, common problems are costs of capital, operational expertise, innovation as a competitive defense, and organic growth (more customers, investors).

If in the interview process candidates are allowed to comment broadly, and the company doesn’t indicate that any of these are problems or issues common to their industry, the candidate should flag the company as:

  • Mediocre- company is just treading water; candidate should stay away.
  • Very Large- candidate should stay away unless they like clearly defined, pigeonhole, assembly line like roles.
  • Secretive- companies like this should hold up a large flag, especially if the candidate will be in a leadership or manager type role. This can indicate owner/operator micro manager mindset from the owner/senior leader. Candidates should stay away. Very common in family run businesses, which are generally terrible to work for, especially for career climbers.
  • Wrong interviewer or HR only- Human Resources are terrible judges of what needs a company has. Companies that open and finish with a candidate only seeing HR personnel are very poor for ambitious and bright individuals. Managers, should be involved with the process early.

In our opinion if HR was very important you would see many CEOs with HR backgrounds…. But this is not so. If possible, try to bypass or pacify HR, to get in front of your potential manager or senior leader to see what the company really needs and where it is going.

Practice by recording yourself and play back your work experience stories, transcribe them and make them interesting add some drama or play up certain elements.

Have a body of work that stands outside yourself, examples include, written articles, on camera interviews or podcasts relevant to your industry.

This tips should give you enough to make a substantial impact and be memorable to the company you are looking to build your career with.

Good Luck!