You’ve just spent the last three hours meeting with senior leadership, managers and HR answering what seems to be the same question. Once the interviews are completed, you thank each interviewer with a bright smile, a firm handshake, and proceed to go about your day. You walk out of the office feeling on top of the world and exceptionally confident, just knowing that the job is yours. After a week or two of silence from the company, you receive the dreaded e-mail stating they have gone with another candidate and that they’ll keep you in mind for the future. You’re crushed, wondering what another candidate brought to the table that you didn’t.
Some of you may have read one of my previous blogs, The 6-Second Glance. I cover ways to improve your resume so it looks more appealing to recruiters, but what happens once you actually land that dream interview and are brought in for a face-to-face meeting? It’s fairly simple to explain to a friend or colleague what your job actually entails. However, it can be tough to properly relay this to a potential future employer while still maintaining composure and professionalism during an interview. Below are a few pointers that will help you to better prepare once you’ve secured a face-to-face interview.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS LAST
From the moment you step into the building, it’s as if you’re on a live stage and you’re the star of the show. There are no “do-over’s” when it comes to first impressions, so you want to ensure you put your best foot forward.
- Arriving 10-15 minutes early for an interview is early enough. There’s no need to show up half an hour early, but there’s also no excuse to run through the office doors with one minute to spare.
- Dress to impress. Casual Fridays are for the current employees, not for candidates.
- Be aware of your body language. It’s completely normal to feel nervous and anxious during an interview, but stand up straight, remember to maintain eye contact and always thank the interviewer with a firm handshake.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
It shouldn’t matter if you’ve been on two interviews in your life or 20. It’s crucial that you practice for the specific role that you’re interviewing for and tailor your answers to be more in line with the company’s needs. Candidates who seem like effortless interviewers probably didn’t become that way over night. It may seem strange, but try practicing in front of the bathroom mirror so that you can see firsthand how you look and what your expressions are like. This is just one thing you can do repeatedly until you feel confident in your answers.
KNOW WHY YOU WANT THE JOB
If you can’t explain in great detail why you want to work for the company and why you want the position, that’s a problem. You should be able to provide additional reasons than “It’s a great opportunity.” and “My background is inline.” This is often easier said than done, so put adequate thought into what you’re going to say, and answer in confidence. Additionally, know why you’re the best candidate for the job! This part of the interview is where you need to put your sales cap on and have your pitch down cold. It should be clear, concise and consistent with your overall message.
‘THANK YOU’ NOTES ARE APPRECIATED
There are so many rules out there in regards to when it’s appropriate to send a ‘thank you’ follow up note. Some people suggest only sending them after an in-person interview. Some people send them after a few rounds of phone interviews. Some people don’t send them at all. In my opinion, follow-ups are always appropriate. You took time out of your busy day, so did the interviewer. ‘Thank you’ notes show you’re courteous, thankful and considerate of those around you – traits anyone would want in a future fellow co-worker.
Asking questions shows you are involved in the conversation, you’re interested in the company and the role, you’re knowledgeable and you’re prepared. Make it a point to know as much as you can about the company you are interviewing for and ask questions about it! This is a great way to show the interviewer you are genuinely interested. From an interviewer perspective, one of the worst things is having an unenthusiastic candidate sit in front of you who shows very little interest in knowing more about the company and the role.
At the end of the day, there are very few people who actually enjoy the interview process. It can be nerve wracking and turn a cool, calm and collected person into a ball of anxiety. By properly preparing yourself in advance, you’ll increase your chances of doing well during the face-to-face interview and hopefully receive the opportunity to take on an exciting new position at a great organization.
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