At Accenture, when considering a candidate we often ask ourselves, “Could we put this candidate in front of client?” While applying and interviewing for an opening can be an uneasy experience it’s important to perpetually mirror appropriate client-facing manners. Some candidates talk too much, wait impatiently for answers, appear overly confident or bring up sensitive topics. You want to avoid these behaviors or anything that mirrors them.
It’s important to demonstrate patience. Due to availability, I had a candidate who had to wait three weeks before his in-person interview. Instead of snapping at me, the candidate understood and agreed to wait. He checked in with me every week to ensure he was still in the running. This is a great example of reminding the recruiter you are still interested without pestering them. One way to show impatient behavior is calling or emailing multiple times a day when you haven’t gotten a response. A recruiter usually responds back as soon as possible. If a few days have lapsed, you can reach out to them again. If you don’t speak with the recruiter directly, leave a polite message and then allow another day or two for them to respond. Between voicemail and caller ID, the recruiter will know you called and will respond to you. Remember, calling too often can appear unprofessional.
One caveat is to remain conservative – in your dress, mannerisms and conversation. It's fine to laugh and make small talk with the recruiter and hiring manager but don’t bring up anything too personal or sensitive. This includes children, future family plans, family information, activities, hobbies, politics or religious beliefs. Stick to the weather and questions that revolve around Accenture. For example, what is your team like? Does your team have a chance to get together outside of work? What’s your favorite thing about this Accenture office? A professional and tidy appearance is important for an interview. When in doubt about what to wear, wear a suit. Each group at Accenture is different but a suit or blazer, button up shirt or blouse, and pants or skirt are best, especially in consulting. The only way to ensure that an interviewer focuses on what you are saying and your creative solutions during the interview is to eliminate all other distractions.
Listen or read and respond to the question asked. It’s a common slip-up in the interview process to assume you know what the interviewer is getting at. Listen and wait for the interviewer to complete their question before formulating your response. Be confident that you’re answering exactly what was asked of you. For example, if a recruiter emails you an interview time, location and details and asks you to confirm that you are available then do as requested. It may seem silly but there is a sound reason.
If you have behaved professionally during the interview process and still don’t land the job, be gracious. The recruiter delivering the bad news may know of other opportunities and could mention you to another group. After all, if landing a role at Accenture is your ultimate goal, stay on great terms with every recruiter, assistant, scheduler and manager you come across. They may be able to find a better fitting role for you in the future.