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We interviewed 8,000 people last year in over 20 offices around the world. We’re sharing our behind-the-scenes insights with you in our new #careeradvice series!

In this series, we’re featuring our global Talent team and spilling their secrets on job hunting–– from the best way to apply for a job and what to put on your LinkedIn profile to how to nail the perfect interview. This first post reveals the most common misconceptions applicants and interviewers have, and gives practical advice for how to combat them.

1. Focus your energy on your LinkedIn profile, not your cover letter

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“I don’t read cover letters. Everything I need to know right off the bat should be on the top of the resume. That being said, it makes the resume you put forth all the more important to really nail it. Here are my 3 biggest tips:

  1. This seems so simple, but make sure there are no grammatical errors on your resume and LinkedIn profile! It’s distracting and doesn’t show that you made the effort.
  2. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, always. It’s a living, public version of your resume and it’s the first introduction to your background that a recruiter or hiring manager looks at when they’re considering you for a role.
  3. Stop listing your current responsibilities, and start writing about your achievements—with as many metrics as possible.”

— Andrea Berg, Senior Corporate Recruiter, San Francisco

2. A lot happens after you apply—and yes, we really read your resume

“When applying for jobs, please have confidence that your resume will be reviewed! It has become a common myth that applications go into a “black hole” and are never read—that’s not the case at all. When we do receive your resume, we not only consider you for the position you applied for, but also for any other potential openings we have where your experience could shine.

If you’re a strong candidate with an excellent track record of success, you better believe we are passing your resume around trying to find the perfect fit for you! I recommend not applying for multiple jobs at a company, but just applying to the one you want most and then letting the company navigate you. You never know what you might find that could be a game-changing career opportunity.”

— Kelly Rodich, Customer Success Recruiter, Atlanta

3. A referral is a great way to get an interview, but it’s only one step

“We work with awesome people who probably know more awesome people. Referrals are a huge part of any company’s hiring efforts, and recruiters love meeting our coworkers’ connections. If a friend of yours reaches out about an opportunity at their company, it never hurts to explore it. Or, if you learn about a company that’s interesting to you and you know someone who works there, reach out to them for an introduction to a recruiter or hiring manager. These are productive, proactive steps to building relationships that could help you along in your career.

However, there’s a myth that getting referred to a company automatically means you’ll get hired. At most of the top companies today, getting referred is not a guarantee. It’s really important to prepare for the interviews just as you would for any other, and show the hiring managers that you’re the best fit for the role. The most outstanding candidate will be the one that makes it through, even if they don’t have any prior connections to the company.”

—  Madeline Lehrner, Associate Recruiter, San Francisco

4. Doing your research should start well before the interview

“A new job is a big deal—you’ll be spending 5 days a week with your colleagues and working on helping to make that company successful. Invest your time researching the types of companies you would like to work for someday: What values do they have? What are the people like? Are they successful in the market? Are they in a growth period? Then, once you have a list of qualities you’re looking for in a company, start digging into the story of the companies you’re interviewing with.

Companies want to not only know why you want to work there, but that you’re proactive and ready to hit the ground running. Showing that you’ve done your due diligence in understanding the product, the history, the values, the market, and the competitive landscape will impress your interviewers, and help them picture you in the role. Don’t just look at the obvious places like the company website, but also consider looking at employees’ profiles on LinkedIn, news articles about the company, and exploring their customer stories. This is essential for any interview, whether it’s a casual chat with a recruiter or an on-site interview with a hiring manager.”

— Fleur Campbell-Follett, Recruiter, London

5. Your recruiting team really is rooting for you

“We are here to help and work with you! We like having open and honest conversations about your candidacy as it’ll help us best set you up for success. A lot of people come into interviews thinking that they’re up against some tricky system, and I get it; people get nervous, and a potential job change is a major life event. But the team you’re working with is on your side, and we’re doing our best to fight for you in the interview process. It wouldn’t make sense for either side if we set candidates up to fail. Think of us as a strategic partner as you navigate the company and decide if it’s the right place for you to take your career.”

— Ying Lin, Lead Recruiting Coordinator, San Francisco

6. Use the STAR method in every single interview

“I think a lot of times people prepare for interviews, but they still come with a half-baked talk track. We do our best to prep candidates for STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result. It’s the best way to show not only what you accomplished, but how you did it and why it was important to you, your team, and the business.

When you walk us through your experience through the STAR method, it gives us a full picture of your way of thinking, your work style, and gives us confidence that you’re a results-oriented person. Some of my best candidates (who we were fortunate enough to hire!) are very confident and poised during interviews, even when being asked digging questions. Something that helps with that is they’re taking their time to think through their answer – using the STAR method – not just jumping right into it.”

— Brian Tao, Leadership Recruiting and Sourcing Operations Lead, San Francisco

7. Be confident—you’re talking about yourself, you know this!

“Remember that you wouldn’t have made it into the interview process if a recruiter didn’t see something interesting and impressive about you from the start––no matter how small or silly you think it is. Keep this with you going forward, and be confident that you’re the right person for the job. You have an exercise? Trust yourself, embrace it and try to overcome it. Even if you fail.

A lot of people worry about whether they’re qualified for the role they’re interviewing for, and they worry about every little detail of the requirements. It’s better to show the interviewer a track record of success that makes you qualified to take on new challenges, instead of worrying about having every qualification checked off, without any passion for learning and growing at the company.”

— Gaston Latorre, Technical Recruiter, Buenos Aires

8. Interviews are always a two-way street

“People often over-think the types of questions they should ask in an interview because they want to be impressive. The truth is, your questions will come naturally if you do some inward thinking as you prepare for the interview. What are you truly looking for in your next role? What problem do you like to help solve? What type of work is worth the reward? What working environment will help you thrive?

Knowing this about yourself will uncover all the questions you have about the company, and you’ll prove that you are intelligent and taking the interview seriously. Additionally, you should ask the recruiter those same questions you ask yourself! Get to know their story and their place in the company. Go beyond the interview buzzwords and get to the real human journey. If a job change is simultaneously scary and exciting, that’s how you know you should take the leap.”

— Hannah Gunter, Recruiting Coordinator, San Francisco

9. We can feel your energy, and lack thereof

“Candidates need to bring energy and excitement to interviews. Any company will want to see that the opportunity is something that excites and motivates you. I tell candidates to picture themselves in the role, instead of thinking of the job on paper. What are the aspects of the role and company make you excited to wake up and go to work every morning? Put that energy into the interview. And if you can’t find anything that makes you feel that way, be honest with yourself and with your recruiter about whether this is the right opportunity for you.

— David Hoggan, Senior Professional Services Recruiter, Salt Lake City

10. Things don’t always work out, and that’s okay

“It’s completely okay to pull out of the process. Things come up: promotions, new job opportunities, or maybe the timing just wasn’t right for you. But try to be courteous to the people who coordinated your interviews. We’re doing our best to make sure this is the right fit both for you and for the company, and there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make that happen. We always prefer honesty, even if it’s not the outcome we were hoping for. Canceling last minute or just going dark doesn’t leave a great impression. You may not be interested in the role now, but you never know if things will change down the road. Who knows, that recruiter or hiring manager could end up at a future company you’re interested in!”

Emily Turner, Sales Talent Sourcer, San Francisco

Keep following our #careeradvice series for a blog post about how to make your resume stand out! Want to interview with this team? Take a look at our Careers site and explore over 200 open positions across 24 departments!