How to succeed in an interview
The moment has finally arrived; a company has invited you onsite for an interview for the job you applied for. You now have a chance to sell yourself face to face. You’re excited, you’re nervous and more than anything you want everything to go perfectly. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to landing that job.
- dress appropriately
- research the company
- bring copies of your resume
- prepare for behavioral based interviews
- send a thank you note
- arrive late
- forget that everyone is interviewing you
- suffer physically
- lose patience
- forget to ask for the job
Do dress appropriately
You should dress appropriately for the company culture. If you’re unsure what their culture is like, ask the person arranging the interview. To show up in a full suit and tie at a company where everyone’s in jeans is unnecessary and awkward, and if you feel uncomfortable you won’t interview well. Conversely, you don’t want to wear khakis or knit pants if everyone’s in full tailored suits. Know your audience and aim to look slightly better than those who you are meeting with.
Do research the company
Be sure to read over the company’s website before the interview. Be able to discuss what they do as well as who their competitors are, and any recent press releases or interesting facts. They will want to know how well you understand their business as well as why you want to work there.
Do bring copies of your resume
In this day and age where everything is emailed, people sometimes overlook paper copies of resumes. While they no longer need to be on water marked linen paper, bring five to ten copies that you could hand out to multiple interviewers.
Do prepare for behavioral based interviews
Behavioral based interview questions are simply those that ask you to either describe a time when you did something, or they pose hypothetical questions for you to answer. These are quite common and popular, so if necessary, role play with a friend or family member. Be prepared to answer how you would or did handle various situations relevant to your industry.
Do send a thank you note
Whether it’s a handwritten paper note or a well crafted, personalized email, be sure to send a thank you note out promptly following an interview. If you interviewed with multiple people, you can either send personalized notes to each, or one to the person who scheduled the interview with you (perhaps that’s the hiring manager or HR), and request that that person share your note with the others. Sometimes hiring decisions come down to who did a better job at following up.
Do not arrive late
Whenever possible it’s always great to scout out the interview location ahead of time. Even when you think you know the location, sometimes office parks are confusing or companies have multiple entrances. If you do a dry run the day before, and still allow extra time for traffic, trains and general inconveniences, you’ll arrive ahead of time and non-stressed.
Do not forget that everyone is interviewing you
Be kind to the receptionist who greets you when you arrive and make small talk. Recruiters often ask the receptionist for their impressions of the candidate, and if the feedback is less than positive, they’ll take that into consideration.
Do not suffer physically
Interviews can be long and if you need a drink of water, or need to use a restroom, ask to do so. Sometimes if you don’t need a break physically, you may request one anyway to collect your thoughts and give yourself a chance to regroup before speaking with the next interviewer.
Do not lose patience
Oftentimes a company will have you meet with many people and they might all ask you the same question. Don’t mention that you’ve answered it over and over, simply reply to the answer and be polite.
Do not forget to ask for the job
Candidates often lack the confidence to ask for the job at the end of the interview. A script may go something like this: “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. This sounds like a terrific role and a terrific company. I’m even more excited about this position now. I truly hope you’ll consider me for the role as this seems like exactly the type of opportunity I’m seeking.”
The most important advice you should take into an interview is to be yourself. Remember interviews are a two way process, and this is an opportunity for you to make sure that this company aligns with what’s important to you in an employer.