Monday, October 6, 2014

In Person Interview Tips

For some Monday Career Motivation, I thought I would share some tips on that blog that I typically share with candidates before going into an in person interview. Some of them are may seem like basic knowledge but I still like to review because if someone has an interview with my name attached to it, I expect it to be the best!

The Basics
Tips that can pretty much be found anywhere and are the basics for interview preparation.

Be Early. I know I am stating the obvious here, but it is better to sit in the parking lot for 30 minutes scrolling through Instagram than to show up 30 seconds late. Remember, early is on time and on time is late.

Bring Copies of Your Resume. It's obvious why this one is in the Basics category. If you are going to an interview, don't assume that they already have copies of your resumes. Bring at least one copy for each person you plan on  meeting with and a few additional copies incase someone decides to unexpectedly drop in.

Dress Professional. If you are working with a recruiter, hopefully they have asked the client for the proper dress code. (Steel toes and covered shoes may be necessary if a plant tour is part of the interview.) For an office interview, suit up. It's always better to dress to impress than to be under-dressed. And if you're a lady, wear heels.

The Impression Makers
Tips that make a candidate stand out during an interview and show their excitement for the job and company.

Research. I mentioned this as part of my phone interview tips and find it to be important to dig even deeper for an in person interview. Research not only the company website, but their social media platforms and articles recently published about the organization. If they make a product, find their products in stores and familiarize yourself. If it's a retail organization, visit their stores and speak to their associates. If it's publicly traded, know how their stocks are doing. Most people who work at a company are pretty excited to be there and stand behind their brand. During the interview process, they are looking for people who are equally as passionate.

Take Notes. This may be my personal pet peeve during an interview. An interview is a team for the company to get to know the candidate but it's also important for the candidate to learn more about the company, team, and the role. I always recommend candidates take notes during the interview on important aspects of the role discussed. It's always to non-verbally communicate your enthusiasm for a role. (Which happens to be the most common feedback we receive. Not that someone wasn't qualified, but that they didn't seem excited enough for the role.)

Ask Good Questions. Often times when going to an interview, candidates Google the basic list of interview questions and bring a list to ask during the interview. While some of these are important questions to know the answers to, they are not good questions. Good questions let an interviewer know that you know the job. They are questions specific to the department, role, and responsibilities. They are questions that are usually only asked by someone who has experience in the field. These questions, are what separates the good candidates from the one who gets the job.

Excitement. In person interviews are exhausting. Often times, we receive six hour agendas of back to back one on one interviews and panel interviews. (Sometimes, they even forget lunch.) It can be exhausting. As a runner, I like to compare the longer interviews to a marathon not a sprint. During a marathon, you want to set a good pace and make sure that you are running each mile consistently. Same mindset during an interview. You can't have the first hour be phenomenal and then slump during the second interview and then perk back up for the last two. They have to be consistently impressive. To do this, I often times tell candidate to turn their switch on from the moment they arrive in the parking lot. Be cheerful. Excited. Say hello to everyone. At the end of the interview, once you are in your car and have pulled out of the parking lot, you can turn it off. Relax. Breathe.

Thank Yous. Candidate's will ask me if it is antiquated to send the traditional "thank you" note after an interview and in my best Lizzie McGuire voice in my head, I scream "NOOOOOO!" Yes, you should still thank you notes, for everything but especially an interview. Make them personal. Members of a team will often share the thank you notes and feel deflated if everyone received the exact same message. Thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. I find it best to send a quick email "thank you" preferably the evening following an interview and then writing a hand written note and mailing it to the company the next day. I once had a candidate that even cracked a tough to figure out email to make sure he sent his thank you note, and the client was beyond thrilled with his initiative. Did I mention he got the job?

The Deal Sealers
Tips that leave a client so impressed, they can't not offer you the job.

Presentation. I once had a candidate who prepared a presentation on himself on interviews. This presentation had a copy of his resume and a detailed Power Point presentation of his prior skills and how he had been successful in the past and planned to be successful in the future. This presentation included pictures of his trade shows, copies of his degrees, links to his published works, and he addressed specific concerns that they company had addressed during his phone interview. He has the presentation professional printed and bound and brought copies with him to the interview. While this may seem a bit drastic, he received a job offer from every company he interviewed with.

Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful on your next interview. I posted some more useful tips below.

Resume Advice

How to Get an Interview

Phone & Video Interview Advice 



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