Every day you are interviewing. Maybe not for a job, but you’re interviewing with every stranger that holds a door, sits down next to you on a train, or shares an elevator. You never know who you will meet again. You never know if the receptionist at a company is the boss’s daughter.
What does this mean? It means you are interviewing before you even step foot into your meeting with your prospective manager. From the moment you click send and your resume darts off into a company database, you have entered the interview process.
Your resume starts your story. You’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s. Your resume is clean, concise, and has the perfect combination of experience and technology. So why is it, that some highly qualified, and let’s say for the sake of argument, the best candidates on paper, can’t land a job?
It might be the interviews. While there is some debate about the merits of traditional coding interviews via white board, the fact of the matter is, many companies still use them as well as traditional interviews today. So armed with a portfolio, references, and your resume- head into your interview confidently.
- You’re always interviewing. Treat the Admin like you would treat the CEO. We want to know if candidates coming into our offices are respectful of our admins. They see and hear everything and are great judges of character.
- You’re late. Find your route to our offices or your prospective new employer. Then find another. It happens: traffic, accidents, delays. We understand, but when your livelihood is on the line – take it seriously. If you can’t arrive on time, let someone know. Part of interview preparation is having the contact information of the person that is interviewing you and assuring that you can reach them if needed. Not showing up is a pretty solid guarantee that you won’t be putting in your 2 weeks notice.
- Know your audience. Are you going to a technical interview? Or is it with HR? Does it matter? YES! On paper, HR may be able to identify skills, but they are also looking for culture fit, how comfortable you are, and whether you can answer standard interview questions. You should prepare to tailor your answers to someone who can/can’t understand technical lingo. If you aren’t able to explain technical jargon to HR, how could you do it in a client-facing position where they have no experience in web design or software development?
- Dress the part. There’s no harm in asking HR or your hiring manger what the atmosphere is like before you get on site. It’s insightful to want to be respectful by dressing and composing yourself at the appropriate standard. If they’ve told you it’s a jeans & t-shirts environment, a suit probably isn’t your best bet. But the opposite is true as well.
- Rehearse your answers. Know your resume inside and out. Make sure every last line can be explained or worked through and discuss how you’ve grown since that moment in your career. Be prepared to explain work gaps, short term contracts, and areas where you feel like you can improve. If you can’t (or don’t want to) improve your skills, you’re stagnant.
- Ask Questions. You’ve researched their backgrounds, scoured the company site, and even got in touch with someone who used to work there. Ask questions about current projects or shifts their seeing in their industry. Ask them why they left industry X to get into industry Y. Genuine interest goes a long way.
- Thank them. Thank them during the interview, send a quick email to thank them after, and make sure that you highlight anything about yourself that you may have missed. Something short, sweet, and within 24 hours of the interview is suggested.
- Ask about follow up. Be clear about when they will follow up with you or with a recruiter. Or, ask when you can follow up directly. It’s OK to ask about a timeline as long as you aren’t pushy. Make sure that you send any projects or information that you promised during the interview.
- Check-in. If you are using Talener or any other staffing agency, check in to with your recruiter to discuss how it went and what your thoughts are post-interview. Are you still as interested? Did they mention something that sounded off to you? Is there something you’d like the recruiter to discuss with the manager? Discuss any potential issue so that your recruiter can get ahead of the situation.
- Understand why you did/didn’t get another interview. You got a second round interview? Awesome! Why? Was it your personality? Willingness to grow & develop additional skills? Someone obviously thought it was important, so play up your strengths. Didn’t get another interview? Find out why. Ask your recruiter to get specifics about the interview. Was it something you said? Culture fit? Or perhaps something you didn’t pick up on at all.
Check out the great interview advice links below from some companies that we have worked with: